British Airways and Ryanair cancel hundreds of flights over coronavirus fears

British Airways and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights to and from the UK due to the coronavirus outbreak.

BA has temporarily axed some short-haul flights between Heathrow and Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland.

The major UK airliner has also cancelled long-haul flights between Heathrow and New York’s JFK airport – one of its busiest routes.

And it has stopped flights between Gatwick and Italy, France and Albania – while BA's London City flights to and from Italy and Germany have been cancelled.

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A British Airways spokesman said this afternoon: "To match reduced demand due to the continuing coronavirus issue, we are merging a number of flights between March 16 and March 28.

"We will be contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including re-booking onto other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel.

"Customers can also find the latest information and options on BA.com."

Meanwhile Ryanair is also reducing frequencies on some routes by up to 25%, particularly affecting flights to and from Italy.

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The Dublin-based carrier said it will operate a reduced schedule between March 17 and April 8 because of a "significant drop in bookings" over that period.

It said in a statement: "Ryanair today notified passengers that it was reducing its short haul flight programme (mainly to and from Italy) by up to 25% for a three-week period from Tuesday March 17 to Wednesday Apr 8, in response to the Covid-19 virus.

"Over the past week, Ryanair has seen a significant drop in bookings over that late March/early April period, in response to the Covid-19 virus.

"There has also been a significant step up in passenger no-shows on flights, particularly from and within Italy."

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The cancellations come as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grip Europe – especially Italy where 36 people have died – and has seen the number of UK cases soar to 40.

Yesterday saw Scotland confirm its first case of coronavirus, meaning every country in the UK has now been affected by the deadly COVID-19.

And today alone another four more people tested positive for coronavirus in England to bring the total number of cases in the UK leaping to 40.

The patients had all recently travelled to the UK from Italy, and are from Hertfordshire, Devon and Kent.

  • British Airways
  • Ryanair
  • JFK
  • Gatwick
  • London

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