On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. With the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak countries all over the world are taking precautions in order to minimize the risk. Just a few weeks later the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Following the news, many airlines were forced to suspend or reduce their daily operations.
Table of Contents
- 1 Airlines that Suspended or Reduced Operations Because of the Coronavirus
- 2 European airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- 3 North American airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- 4 Middle Eastern airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- 5 Oceania Airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- 6 Asian airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
Several European Union states have closed their borders for non-essential travel in the past few days. Some have also announced that they soon would do the same. The European Commission proposes that the non-essential travel to the union would be restricted for 30 days, which later could be extended. Every European Airline is taking a major hit at the moment as are the ones all over the world.
European airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
Lufthansa Group has canceled a total of 23,000 flights during April, which include short, medium and long-haul services, between March 29 and April 24. If you already have a ticket for a canceled or an existing Lufthansa Group flight, you can keep the ticket without having to commit to a new flight date right away. Existing bookings will initially be canceled, but the ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged and can be extended to a new departure date up to 31 December 2020. You can also rebook to another destination. Austrian Airlines is the only Lufthansa subsidiary to completely stop operations so far.
- Austrian Airlines
A subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, Austrian Airlines is the flag carrier of Austria. The carrier is headquartered in Vienna. Austrian Airlines flies to six domestic and over 120 international destinations. They are also a member of the Star Alliance. Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend flight operations starting Thursday, March 19, due to entry restrictions imposed by many countries. The carrier will besides the suspension of all operations, ground all aircraft until further notice, they announced in an official release.
- Air France and KLM
All flights to mainland China, Hong Kong, Taipei, Italy, and Tel Aviv are currently suspended. They intend to slowly resume operations to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Taipei after March 29. Air France is currently flying to Seoul, Singapore, Japan, and some European destinations with a reduced capacity. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, another member of the Air France-KLM Group, will similarly by reducing the number of flights.
- Iberia and British Airways
IAG, the owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, said Monday it would cut the group’s flight capacity by 75% during April and May because of the pandemic.
- Norwegian Air
Norwegian Air will cancel more than 4,000 flights and temporarily lay off up to 50% of staff because of the coronavirus pandemic and travel bans. The carrier said in the press release that they had decided to ground 40% of its long-haul fleet. They also had to cancel 25% of short-haul flights until the end of May. Starting March 13 and until March 29, 2020, the majority of long-haul flights to the US from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona, and Paris will be canceled. Also, all flights to the US from Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam, Athens, and Oslo will be canceled between the end and the end of April. Norwegian will keep flying London to the US route like they usually do.
- Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic will cut most of its flights and has asked staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave. All flights to Shanghai are suspended and they will delay the new Sao Paulo route. Flights to Hong Kong will fly as scheduled for now. Virgin said that it was going to reduce its services to focus on core routes. Its London Heathrow-Newark route will be cut immediately.
- LOT Polish Airlines
LOT, Poland’s national carrier, announced that all flights would be suspended as of 15 March until 28 March. This includes flights from both Poland and Hungary.
- Air Baltic
Air Baltic announced that it will suspend all operations as the government of Latvia, where the carrier is based, has decided to largely close its borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its country. The carrier will cease operations from March 17 until April 15, 2020.
- SAS Scandinavian Airlines
SAS Scandinavian Airlines announced on Sunday that it would be suspending most of its operations due to a decrease in demand for travel. The airline represents Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and currently, there is a one month ban on entry from international visitors.
Finnair will suspend most of its operation and will only be flying some crucial routes. The airline’s capacity starting April 1 will be reduced by 90% and they will continue to fly mainly routes within Finland and some routes within Europe and to Tokyo.
North American airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- American Airlines
American Airlines Group implemented a suspension of almost all long-haul international flights that started on March 16, because of the reduced demand and travel restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Between March 16 and May 6, American Airlines will reduce its international capacity by 75%. They are also preparing for a cut of 20% in April to all domestic flights, and it might even go up to 30% in May.
Canada’s WestJet will be suspending all international operations as the Canadian government largely closes its borders. They will also cut domestic travel by 50%.
- United Airlines
United Airlines announced more cuts to domestic and international flights in April. The airline will be cutting domestic flights by 60% while international flights will be decreased by 80%.
JetBlue started waiving all change and cancellation fees in late February. They plan on reducing 40% of flights.
- Delta Air Lines
Delta is making big cuts to its flight network, with more than 80% of its international flights suspended over the next three months.
Middle Eastern airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- Royal Jordanian
Royal Jordanian Airlines announced on Sunday it would suspend all of its flights from Amman starting on March 17, 2020. They are the first Middle Eastern carrier to do so.
- Uzbekistan Airways
All international flights operated by the airline will be suspended from March 17 until April 5.
- Middle East Airlines
Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines will be suspending operations from March 19.
In addition to suspending its flights to Iran indefinitely, Emirates has suspended flights to 35 destinations, including Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City, and its fifth freedom flight from New York to Milan.
Oceania Airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand announced that they will cut back on its long-haul operation by 85%.
- Qantas Airways
Qantas will be severely reducing capacity on both international and domestic routes. They will also ground around 150 aircraft. Qantas will reduce capacity on its international routes by 90% and its domestic capacity will be reduced by 60%.
- Virgin Australia
Virgin Australia will be suspending international flying. Compered to Qantas they have significantly fewer routes, they mostly fly domestic flights which will fly regularly.
Asian airlines that made significant changes to their flight schedule
- Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific announced further reductions in capacity by up to 90%. The Hong Kong airline was heavily hit by the initial outbreak of the virus, which is withering down in Asia at the moment.
Jetstar Asia announced that they will be suspending flights for three weeks from March 23 to April 15.
- Korean Air
Korean Air suspended most of its flights from Seoul to America, as well as destinations in Southeast Asia and Europe.
- Japan Airlines
JAL has suspended or reduced most of the international flights. The airline is allowing refunds and ticket changes for most upcoming flights this spring to and from Japan, mainland China, and Hong Kong.
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About the author: Mila Kostic is a native of Belgrade, Serbia. After majoring in sociology at the Belgrade University she has been working as tutor and coach. Prior to taking on her role at Mighty Travels, she wrote for a video games, fitness, and health lifestyle website. After starting her work with the Mighty Travels team she discovered her passion for travel and travel writing. Now, she is focused on bringing you the newest travel news. In her portfolio here at Mighty Travels, you can find articles on Airline news, hottest credit card deals, tips and tricks on earning miles and much more. You can reach her at [email protected]
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