BA, Ryanair and easyJet cancel more flights to Italy due to coronavirus
Ryanair is sharply cutting back on the number of flights it operates to and from northern Italy after the government’s lockdown of provinces in response to the coronavirus.
The airline’s announcement came after British Airways and easyJet cancelled more flights to northern Italy and offered refunds or rebooking after the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to regions operating coronavirus quarantine restrictions.
Ryanair will operate a maximum of one service a day, from Fridays to Mondays, on its routes from the region. It will also suspend all Italian domestic flights to and from Bergamo, Malpensa, Parma and Treviso airports, which are located in the lockdown area.
Flights are able to continue and foreign nationals in Italy are free to depart despite the decree from Italian authorities banning the population of Lombardy and other provinces from leaving the region. However, a number of EU countries, including Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta and Romania are restricting flights from northern Italy.
British Airways cancelled dozens of UK flights to and from Milan and Venice and is reviewing its schedules for the coming weeks, having already cancelled hundreds of other flights.
Any passengers due to fly with BA on Monday were offered a full refund, while those who have booked to fly until 2 April can postpone for up to eight weeks or travel via Switzerland.
EasyJet said it was reviewing its schedules for Milan, Verona and Venice up until the Easter holidays and had cancelled a number of flights to those airports on Monday. Passengers were given the option of a full refund or rebooking.
A spokesman said: “We expect to continue to reduce the number of flights in and out of Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona airports in the period up to 3 April and will provide a further update on our schedule in due course. Whilst these circumstances are outside of our control, we apologise to all affected customers for any inconvenience caused.”
With demand for travel dropping worldwide, more airlines have offered guarantees to allow passengers to book with confidence. BA is allowing customers booking flights anywhere on its network to change their flight without a fee in the next 12 months.
Air France-KLM extended a similar guarantee on Monday, allowing customers booking anywhere on its network in March to postpone flights at no extra cost until the end of May. Passengers wanting to postpone for longer or to change their destination or cancel will be offered a non-refundable voucher for future travel.
While some countries have banned airlines from flying in from Italy, the UK government is unlikely to introduce any such measure and has indicated it is a matter for airlines as private businesses.