UPDATED – 15th March, 2020
Cononavirius is spreading across the globe, causing passengers to rethink their flying plans. Airlines are cancelling flights to the affected areas. Airlines are also experiencing a sharp fall in demand as passengers are opting to stay at home.
Travel businesses were hit with multiple doses of bad news on Saturday and Sunday, with the US expanding its Europe travel ban to include the UK and Ireland, a number of South American countries bringing in flight restrictions and Australia joining New Zealand in requiring all people entering the country to self-isolate for 14 days.
American Airlines, the second biggest in the world, said on Saturday that it would start implementing a phased suspension of nearly all long-haul international flights from Monday, amid reduced demand and travel restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
In Europe, the situation for the sector was increasingly dire.
- Norwegian Air, which has built up large debts to establish itself as a low-cost transatlantic operator, said on Saturday that it had “weeks not months” to avert collapse.
- In a memo to staff titled “The Survival of British Airways“, boss Alex Cruz warned that job cuts could be “short term, perhaps long term”
- KLM, the Dutch subsidiary of Air France-KLM, plans to slash up to 2,000 jobs, cut working hours by one-third for its entire staff and ask for government support.
- German flagship carrier Lufthansa said on Friday it was considering a request for state aid.
- In Bolivia, a ban on direct flights to and from Europe went into effect on Saturday. Travellers from China, South Korea, Italy and Spain are also banned from entry.
- Panama banned flights from Asia, one day after blocking flights from Europe.
- Flybe who suffering financial difficulties was pushed into liquidation following the reduction in passengers wanting to travel.
This is a new highly contagious virus with no preventative method with the whole world potentially being at risk. The disease is transmitted by droplets of saliva or mucus. In order to catch the virus you will need to have been in close proximity to an infected person.
The recommendation for all and especially travellers is practice social distancing and wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap.
See the map below detailing . Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases. This will change daily but is correct as at 14 March 2020 per the World Heath Organisation.
S Korea 8,162
The following countries have imposed flight restrictions
Africa Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, South Africa
Americas Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Asia China, India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam
Australia and New Zealand
Middle East Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia
Europe Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine,
Please see the Foreign and Commonwealth office site for current details www.gov.uk/foriegn-Travel-advice correct as at 16 March 2020.
Airlines are taking action to ground their fleets in a reaction to flight bans and the lack of demand
IAG who own British Airways and Iberia Airways will cut capacity by 75% in April and May.
Tui has suspended the majority of its operations
Virgin Atlantic will cut 4/5ths of its flights
Ryanair and easyjet are planning to substantial reduce its operations in the coming months
Emirates updates https://www.emirates.com/uk/english/help/travel-updates/#3515
Airlines are very sensitive to demand and any downturn will lead to pre-emptive cancellations as Airlines aim to keep the planes full .
Airports and railway stations are probably the worst places to congregate so what should one do? If you need to travel, avoid airport queues or areas where large numbers stand in close proximity. Aircraft cabins offer little opportunity for social distancing but studies have found that the window seat offers the best opportunity to minimise the chance of infection. See the graphic below.
External link – How Airlines Santizing Planes Amid Coronvirus – Click here (Source CNTraveler)
External link – Airlines compete with extreme cleaning policies to fight coronavirus – Click here (Source Escape.com)
What if a flight has been cancelled due to an outbreak of Coronavirus?
Most airlines have decided to cancel flights to affected areas in consideration of Government recommendations. In such cases the Airline will offer a full refund without deducting any cancellation charges.
If your flight is within Europe and covered by EU261/2004, you will be rescheduled to your destination at a later date. However, if all flights are cancelled for the near future then a rebate is all that can be provided. Airlines look to Governments for guidance when restricting travel and will not act in isolation.
If I don’t want to travel anymore, can I get a refund?
If the Government is still allowing travel then the usual cancellation fees apply and some airlines may not offer a refund.
Travel Insurance and Credit Cards – Am I covered for cancellation?
You should always buy insurance cover when booking a trip. Some travel policies do provide cancellation costs but usually following the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
My flight was cancelled by the Airline due to lack of demand.
Such cases will probably be covered by EU261/2004 and you will be entitled to compensation provided you were notified less than 14 days prior to your trip. Please note that in such circumstances www.flightdelaypay.com has a useful Claims Calculator which you can use to check the likely compensation.