Lufthansa has warned that it could cancel up to 25 per cent of its short-haul flights. The exact number of flights that the airline will cancel isn’t yet known and will depend on how the coronavirus situation develops.
The coronavirus epidemic is slowly gaining traction within Europe. As airlines continue to deal with a fall in demand and try to contain the situation, Lufthansa has now announced it too will take action.
A report quoted the company’s statement saying, “Within the coming weeks, the number of short- and medium-haul flights will be reduced by up to 25 percent, depending on the further development of the spread of the coronavirus.”
It appears that the airline group is yet to determine exactly which flights would be canceled. However, the news follows similar announcements from other airlines across Europe and further afield.
The Lufthansa Group attributed today’s announcement to tackling the economic fall-out caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. The airline group stated, “As a result of the current situation caused by the accelerated spread of the coronavirus, the Lufthansa Group has decided on taking further measures to counteract the economic consequences.”
Earlier the group had announced that 13 aircraft were effectively grounded as a result of flight suspensions to China. While no aircraft were actually grounded, the capacity of 13 aircraft was not being used. The group said that this will likely increase to 23, and as a result, they may look at reducing working hours.
Meanwhile other airlines like British Airways and Ireland’s Ryanair announced major flight cancellations particularly to Italy.
BA, which is owned by International Airlines Group, said it would cancel some 216 flights to various countries as a result of weaker demand sapped by the spread of Covid-19 disease.
“To match reduced demand due to the continuing coronavirus issue, we are merging a number of flights between March 16 and March 28,” BA said in a statement.
“We will be contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including rebooking onto other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel.”
The cancelled flights include 12 from London Heathrow to New York’s JFK airport, plus 204 short-haul round-trips, including to Albania, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland.
In a further development, Brazilian carrier Latam suspended flights between San Paolo and Milan from March 2 to April 16.
Separately, Irish no-frills airline Ryanair announced it would cut up to a quarter of its short-haul flights, particularly to Italy.
More than 90,000 people have now been infected around the world, mostly in China but with significant outbreaks also in South Korea, Italy and Iran.
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