Coronavirus travel news: Flights cancelled as Flybe collapses

Thousands of flights around the world have been cancelled as coronavirus outbreak continues to spread

Cathy Adams
Thursday 05 March 2020 08:58
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With the coronavirus outbreak around the world showing no sign of slowing down, the travel industry has been one of the hardest affected.

Global airlines including British Airways, Cathay Pacific and United Airlines have slashed routes to destinations including northern Italy and South East Asia as they face a softening of demand due to the spread of coronavirus, or Covid-19.

Late last night, regional airline Flybe collapsed, wrecking the travel plans of tens of thousands of passengers, as the coronavirus outbreak stopped people travelling.

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Europe's biggest regional airline, Flybe, has collapsed overnight as the continued spread of coronavirus takes its toll on passenger demand.

The Independent's Simon Calder explains what to do if you're a Flybe passenger:

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 08:22
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Lufthansa has cut its flight capacity by the equivalent of around 150 planes in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The German carrier told Reuters: “We are dynamically adjusting our plans to reflect extraordinary circumstances."

Lufthansa follows airlines including British Airways and United in slashing flight schedules.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 08:39
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Advising consumers affected by the Flybe collapse, Richard Moriarty, chief executive at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:

This is a sad day for UK aviation and we know that Flybe’s decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its employees and customers.

We urge passengers planning to fly with this airline not to go to the airport as all Flybe flights are cancelled. For the latest advice, Flybe customers should visit the CAA website or the CAA’s Twitter feed for more information.

Flybe also operated a number of codeshare partnerships with international airlines. If you have an international ticket you should make contact with that airline to confirm your travel arrangements.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 08:44
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'Do not travel abroad' is the official warning from the United Arab Emirates to its citizens and foreign residents amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Health officials in the capital Abu Dhabi warned that those travelling abroad could face quarantine, according to Associated Press.

The UAE is home to around nine million people, as well as two major airlines, Etihad and Emirates.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 09:12
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United Airlines said it would cut its North American route network by 10 per cent next month, and its international schedule by 20 per cent, as the spread of coronavirus continues to dampen demand for travel.

The news was announced in a joint letter to employees from CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby.

Meanwhile, there is a hiring freeze until 30 June, employees are being offered voluntary unpaid leave, and salary increases have been postponed.

Read more here: 

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 09:28
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Norwegian Air has cancelled 22 long-haul flights between Europe and the US between 28 March and 5 May as reduced demand takes its toll, it announced this morning.

The affected routes are: Rome-Los Angeles; Rome-Boston; Rome-New York; and London-New York, where three daily departures have been trimmed to two on some days.

Affected customers will be contacted by the airline.

The airline has already reduced its capacity by 15 per cent in 2020, and said it would continue to monitor the situation.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 09:34
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Alana Gomez, spokesperson for flight-comparison site jetcost.co.uk, said that coronavirus will "become the scapegoat" for the collapse of Flybe, but it would be "obtuse and even dangerous" to blame it wholly on the outbreak.

The airline has been struggling for some time now, and would likely have still gone under without the assistance of the virus. Despite its somewhat inevitability, the news about Flybe is deeply upsetting, not only for the travel industry as a whole, but for the 2,000 members of staff and local communities that will be hit the hardest. As one of the UK’s biggest regional airlines, a number of airports – such as Southampton and Anglesey – rely heavily on Flybe, and unless an alternative is sought, they could be in trouble themselves.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 09:40
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British train operators have said they will provide free rail travel to Flybe staff and customers stranded by the collapse.

Travellers need to show proof of either their employment or planned journey to staff at rail stations during the next week.

”We know how distressing the news about Flybe is for their staff and customers which is why train operators have arranged free travel to help them get to their destinations,” said Robert Nisbet, director of Nations and Regions at the Rail Delivery Group.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 09:58
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New figures from aviation trade body Iata shows that coronavirus could cost the airline industry as much as $113bn (£87.47bn) this year, more than double the previous estimate.

The industry body had previously estimated that the deadly bug would cost the industry $29.3bn (£22.68bn) in terms of lost revenue.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 10:09
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A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Flybe cabin crew in the wake of the airline's collapse.

It wants to raise £30,000.

The money will be sent straight to cabin crew who belonged to trade union Unite, it said.

Previous GoFundMe campaigns raised money for Thomas Cook crew and sacked British Airways workers.

"We now need to help the Flybe branch in any small way that we can, if you could donate the cost of even a cup of coffee your fellow cabin crew members would be grateful," says the campaign.

For more information visit the GoFundMe page here.

Cathy Adams5 March 2020 10:26

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