British Airways and Ryanair cancel hundreds of flights amid coronavirus outbreak

Mar 2, 2020

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Two airlines have been forced to cancel a substantial number of flights to and from the U.K. as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As of Monday night, British Airways and Ryanair have announced the cancellations of hundreds of flights as demand for air travel has been reduced.

Between 16 and 28 March, British Airways has cancelled 226 flights, according to BBC. While exact flight numbers haven’t been released by the airline, it said that destinations such as New York, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland are part of the cancelled flights.

Related: Complete guide to travelling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak

British Airways said that passengers who have been affected by the cancellations will be contacted by the airline. Where possible, BA will offer rebookings on other carriers, full refunds or rebooking with BA at a later date.

Similarly, between 17 March and 8 April, Ryanair has cancelled up to 25% of its flights to and from its Italian destinations.

“Our focus at this time is on minimising any risk to our people and our passengers”, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said. “While we are heavily booked over the next two weeks, there has been a notable drop in forward bookings towards the end of March, into early April. It makes sense to selectively prune our schedule to and from those airports where travel has been most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak”.

Ryanair did say that the move to cancel these flights would not affect its full-year financials, which ends on 31 March.

Related: What are airlines doing with the jets that should be flying to China?

Other airlines around the world have been forced to cancel flights as a result of coronavirus. Additionally, many airlines — including those in Europe — have loosened restrictions for travellers who want to cancel or change their plans.

If you have upcoming travel plans with British Airways or Ryanair, check with the carrier to ensure your trip doesn’t include one of the cancelled flights.

Featured photo by Bloomberg/Getty Images.

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