The spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on the airline industry. Plus, the government travel restrictions have negatively impacted all airlines flying in and out of Europe.
The European airlines particularly impacted include Austrian Airlines that has grounded all flights; British Airways that has cut its capacity 75 percent; SAS that has grounded all flights; easyJet says it will operate rescue flights although all operations may cease; Virgin Atlantic that has reduced daily flights by 85 percent; Norwegian that has canceled 85 percent of its flights and temporarily laid off 7,300 employees; Ryanair that grounded most of its fleet; Korean Air that has grounded 100 out of 145 aircraft, and sent a memo to its employees that there is a real possibility that the airline could collapse; French boutique airline La Compagnie that has suspended operations; LOT Polish Airlines that has suspended operations in Poland and Hungary; Air Baltic that has suspended all operations; Royal Jordanian Airlines that has suspended all flights; Finnair that has reduced 90 percent of its routes; Swiss International Air Lines has reduced services by 80 percent; and Brussels Airlines that has reduced long-haul flights by 90 percent and short-haul flights by up to 80 percent.
“What our industry is now facing is unprecedented and critical as we are approaching a scenario where most of our airplanes will be temporarily grounded. Several governments in Europe have already said they will do everything they can to ensure that their airlines can continue to fly when society returns to normalcy. We appreciate that the authorities of Norway have communicated that they will implement all necessary measures to protect aviation in Norway, consequently securing crucial infrastructure and jobs,” said CEO Jacob Schram of Norwegian, in a statement.
The Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian Airlines will temporarily suspend scheduled flight operations as of Thursday, March 19, 2020. In addition, Lufthansa Group airlines will further reduce their short- and long-haul schedule. The cancellations will lead to a sharp decline in long-haul service, especially in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America. Overall, the Lufthansa Group’s seating capacity on long-haul routes will be reduced by up to 90 percent.