Airlines are taking drastic actions amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Many countries have placed travel restrictions, some more extensive than others, causing major disruption to airlines and their routes. The United States has banned all flights from Europe, including the UK, while countries including Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Malta are putting arrivals into quarantine.
On Monday, it was announced that Virgin Atlantic is asking its staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave over the next three months to help it cope during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The airline is among many others facing a fall in passenger demand due to global travel restrictions and concerns over the virus.
The airline is also to reduce daily flights by 80% by 26 March and will scrap its London Heathrow to Newark route immediately.
easyJet has warned that most of its fleet could be grounded, with flights to many destinations already scrapped amid the pandemic. Ryanair is facing similar circumstances and expects to ground most of its European fleet within the next 10 days.
The owner of British Airways, IAG is to reduce capacity in April and May by 75% compared to the same period last years, also offering staff voluntary leave and reducing working hours.
TUI has cancelled a large number of holidays, including to destinations such as Spain, the Dominican Republic, Morroco, the USA, Jamacia and Malta. Airlines including TUI are experiencing a large volume of calls, and are asking customers to only phone them if necessary. TUI, like other travel companies, are displaying information for customers on their website.
Other airlines across the world are taking similar measures and are expecting to cancel more flights as travel restrictions increase and the virus outbreak develops. Some airlines are expected to request financial support from the government amid the challenging climate. Regional airline Flybe collapsed earlier this month, blaming in part falling passenger numbers amind the Coronavirus outbreak.
Members of the public hoping to travel overseas are advised to check the latest foreign office travel advice and information from their airline before travelling to the airport.