- Airlines the world over are seeing their wings clipped by travel bans, airspace closures, and low demand for travel.
- European, Asian, and Middle Eastern continue to restrict air travel and make operating flights impossible for some airlines.
- Most airlines are scheduled to resume operation in mid-April, with some not planning to take to the skies again until May or June.
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Airlines around the world are choosing to ground flights rather than fly empty aircraft as the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect the skies, with some airlines being bound by a government mandate to stay grounded.
Travel bans and airspace closures also have contributed to the temporary suspensions of over 50 airlines, ranging from global national carriers to small regional airlines. While demand for travel is already at a record low, airlines are struggling to find airports to land at with entire nations shutting down their borders in a desperate attempt to prevent an outbreak of the virus that has infected thousands and shown little regard for national boundaries.
With air travel the primary means of the virus’ spread, airlines are the first target of nations attempting to protect their citizenry.
European, Asian, and Middle Eastern countries primarily have seen their airlines temporarily shutdown, with some of the world’s largest airlines forced to cancel countless flights and leaving travellers rushing to get in the air before it’s too late. In the US, airlines have greatly reduced operations but many still operate as the country’s airspace remains open.
Take a look at which airlines won’t be gracing the world’s skies in the near future.
Belgium’s Air Antwerp announced that it will be cancelling all of its flights from March 22 until April 12.
The temporary suspension of operations, the airline stated, is due to measures taken by the Belgian government to restrict travel, especially as the European Union voted to close its external borders.
Air Arabia announced the suspension of its operations from March 25 as a United Arab Emirates government directive prohibits passenger flights from arriving in the country.
The Sharjah-based airline did not say when it plans to resume operations.
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana announced the suspension of operations until mid-April following a government state of emergency restricting flights in the country.
The mandate affects all Kazakhstan airlines but Air Astana will be operating limited non-scheduled repatriation flights for residents and citizens.
Air Baltic announced that it will suspend all operations as the government of Latvia, where the carrier is based, has decided to largely close its borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its country. The carrier will cease operations from March 17 until April 15, including in Estonia and Lithuania where it has secondary bases.
Air India is temporarily ceasing operations as Indian airspace is closing on March 25, according to a government press release.
The closure affects all of India’s airlines and foreign airlines flying to or through the subcontinent.
Air India Express
Air India Express is temporarily ceasing operations as Indian airspace is closing on March 25, according to a government press release.
The closure affects all of India’s airlines and foreign airlines flying to or through the subcontinent.
Air Madagascar announced the suspension of all flights as its island homeland attempts to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
The African airline will be suspending flights for a month between March 20 and April 20.
Air Malta announced on Wednesday that it will be suspending operations beginning just before midnight on Friday until further notice.
The suspension comes as the Maltese government is suspending all commercial flight traffic to the island nation in an attempt to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Air Moldova will be suspending operations until April 1, Routes Online reported, per government mandate.
The suspension primarily affects flights from the airline’s Chisinau hub to European and Middle Eastern destinations.
Air Serbia announced the suspension of its operation following restrictions placed on international air traffic from the Serbian government. The airline primarily operates within Europe with one long-haul route between Belgrade and New York.
Air Transat announced that all flights will be gradually cancelled until April 30. The move comes as the Canadian government and European Union, as well as Caribbean nations served by Air Transat, are closing national borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Multiple AirAsia subsidiaries have announced the suspension of services due to multiple travel bans.
AirAsia’s Philippines subsidiary announced the cancellation of all international and domestic flights from March 20 to April 14. The move came following a Philippine government directive halting air travel in the country to prevent a coronavirus spread.
AirAsia India will also be suspending operations from March 25 as the Indian government moved to close down domestic airspace.
Austrian Airlines announced a temporary suspension of flights for a 10-day period starting March 18.
The airline was the first in the Lufthansa Group to entirely suspend operations, with its last flight operating from Chicago to Vienna on Wednesday night.
South American carrier Avianca announced the suspension of all flights starting March 25. The carrier is speeding up a previously planned drawdown of service, grounding its passenger fleet until April 12.
Romania’s Blue Air announced the suspension of all passenger operations as its home country instituted a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. Scheduled flights are expected to resume in mid-April with emergency charter flights operating until then.
Brussels Airlines, one of the smallest national airlines in the Lufthansa Group, announced it will be suspending operations between March 21 and April 19.
The suspension comes as the European Union has voted to close external borders and various countries within the political bloc have experienced outbreaks of COVID-19 that have decimated the demand for travel.
Cabo Verde Airlines
Cabo Verde Airlines announced it will be suspending all flights for at least 30 days as its archipelagic homeland attempts to shield itself from the novel coronavirus.
The newly-rebranded airline situated in Cape Verde off of the coast of Africa had recently implemented a strategy based on connecting the continents of North America, South America, Africa, and Europe via Cape Verde.
Cayman Airways is suspending operations as the Cayman Islands government has announced the closure of Owen Roberts International Airport and Charles Kirkconnell International Airport for international passenger flights from March 22.
The closure will remain in effect until April 12 and affect the majority of Cayman’s operations.
Cebu Pacific Air
Cebu Pacific Air announced all flights will be cancelled between March 19 and April 12. The low-cost airline joins other Philippines airlines in cancelling flights in the country per government mandate.
Comair – British Airways
South Africa’s British Airways franchisee Comair is suspending operations per presidential directive on March 26. Comair along with subsidiary carrier Kulula will be grounding flights until April 19.
Copa Airlines said in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the airline is planning to reduce capacity by 80% in April. The airline, based in Panama at the crossroads of the Americas, primarily connects passengers transiting between the two continents as well as Central America.
The airline later announced the full suspension of operations per Panamanian government restrictions on international travel. Copa will be grounded until April 22 starting on March 23.
CSA Czech Airlines
CSA Czech Airlines announced it will be cancelling all flights to its hub in Prague as the Czech government is closing its borders and preventing citizens from travelling abroad.
The government ban in an attempt to prevent an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Czech Republic is scheduled to remain in effect from March 16 until April 11.
EgyptAir announced the suspension of operations due to Egyptian government closures of airports in the North African country. Egyptian air traffic will be restricted until the end of March.
Emirates announced that passenger flights from March 25 will be suspended per a UAE government directive prohibiting passenger flights. The Dubai-based mega carrier did not specify when flights will resume.
Etihad Airways announced all passenger flights will be suspended as the UAE attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19 by restricting passenger traffic. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier said the situation will be re-evaluated in two weeks following the mandate taking effect.
Moldova’s FlyOne will be suspending all operations until the end of March, the airline announced on Monday, per a government mandate to restrict air travel.
Flights are scheduled to resume on April 1.
UAE low-cost carrier Flydubai will be suspending operations per a government mandate restricting air travel in the country. The suspension will remain in effect from March 25 to April 7.
Indigo is temporarily ceasing operations as Indian airspace is closing on March 25, according to a government press release. The closure affects all of India’s airlines and foreign airlines flying to or through the subcontinent.
The UK’s Jet2.com announced the suspension of all flights until the end of April. The leisure airline connects secondary cities in the UK with leisure destinations across Europe, notably to Spain where cases of COVID-19 have risen sharply.
Multiple divisions of Asian-Pacific low-cost airline group Jetstar will be suspending operations. Jetstar Asia announced on Wednesday it will be suspending flights for three weeks from March 23 to April 15.
The Singapore-based airline was initially impacted by the initial outbreak of coronavirus as it suspended flights to mainland China and is now citing further travel restrictions imposed by national governments.
South African low-cost carrier Kulula is suspending operations per presidential directive on March 26. Kulula along with parent carrier Comair announced the grounding of flights will last until April 19.
Kuwait Airways announced the indefinite suspension of flights in line with a government mandate banning international flights to Kuwait.
The city-state was among the first in the Middle East to begin restricting access at the start of the COVID-19 spread outside of China, particularly when it reached Iran.
French boutique airline La Compagnie announced that it would be suspending operations until the president’s travel restrictions are lifted. The entirely business-class airline operates two routes from the French cities of Paris and Nice to Newark, New Jersey.
La Compagnie expects to resume operations once the ban expires with one daily flight between Newark and Paris on April 15 while pushing back the launch of seasonal Newark-Nice service until June 1.
Ryanair subsidiary Lauda announced the suspension of operations until April 30. The airline’s parent company Ryanair has nearly grounded the entirety of its fleet, offering its services for relief flights.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish Airlines announced the suspension of its operations in Poland and Hungary following a directive from the Polish government to close its borders in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Polish flag carrier primarily operates flights from a base in Warsaw with a secondary base in Budapest, Hungary.
Flights are planned to cease on March 29 and resume on April 12.
Luxembourg’s Luxair is suspending flight operations for nearly a month’s time starting March 24. The airline’s home country sits between France and Germany, where COVID-19 cases began to rise following the virus’ spread to Europe via Italy.
Middle Eastern Airlines
Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines is be suspending operations from March 19, the airline announced, as the Lebanese government attempts to prevent the larger outbreak of coronavirus in its borders.
The number of cases remains low in the country but neighbouring Jordan and Israel have already taken drastic measures to prevent outbreaks.
Montenegro Airlines will be cancelling all flights until April 1,Reuters reported, as its home country attempts to prevent a coronavirus outbreak.
The country is one of many in Europe taking similar actions by restricting access to its borders.
Philippine Airlines announced a temporary suspension of all flights until mid-April. Domestic flights had previously been suspended with international flight suspensions taking effect on March 26.
The cancellations are in response to a directive from the Philippine government, which has implemented strict measures regarding travel since the first outbreak in Wuhan, China in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
Porter Airlines announced that it will be suspending operations until June as Canada and the US agreed to close their border and the Canadian government is advising self-isolation.
The Canadian regional airline primarily operates flights in eastern Canada as well as transborder services from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport.
Kazakhstan’s Qazaq Air announced the suspension of operations until the end of March following a government state of emergency restricting flights in the country. The mandate affects all Kazakhstan airlines.
Royal Air Maroc
Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc announced the indefinite suspension of all its flights from March 21. The flag carrier of the North African country, a popular tourist destination, is suspending the flights due to a government mandate.
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Royal Jordanian Airlines announced it would suspend all of its flights from Amman starting on March 17, becoming the first Middle Eastern airline to temporarily cease flying due to the spread of the virus. The suspension will remain in effect until the end of March.
The Jordanian flag carrier was forced to cancel the flights as the kingdom attempts to prevent an outbreak within its borders, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Africa’s RwandAir announced the suspension of flights for a month’s period starting on March 20. The move came following a government mandate restricting flights into the country.
Ecuador’s TAME announced the suspension of all flights for a two-week period beginning March 17. The South American country has been proactive in restricting international visitors, going as far as to place vehicles on the runway at Guayaquil’s main airport to prevent landing aircraft.
South Africa’s SA Express announced that it will be suspending all of its flights beginning March 18. The state-owned airline did not state when flights would resume.
India’s SpiceJet is temporarily ceasing operations as Indian airspace is closing on March 25, according to a government press release. The closure affects all of India’s airlines and foreign airlines flying to or through the subcontinent.
Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines is suspending operations, One Mile at a Time reported, as the airline temporarily discontinues its sole route between Taipei and Da Nang, Vietnam.
The newly-established airline had suspended its other routes at the beginning of the outbreak and was down to only one route before the decision was made to suspend the service.
Canada’s Sunwing Airlines has announced that it will be suspending flights between March 17 and April 9.
The suspension comes as Canada is largely closing its borders amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak.
Thai Lion Air
Thai Lion Air announced the suspension of flights starting March 25 until mid-April. The move comes following a government mandate restricting both domestic and international flights.
Franco-Dutch low-cost airline Transavia, a member of the Air France-KLM Group, will be suspending operations indefinitely, reported La Tribune.
The bi-national airline group announced a large scale back in operations that saw a reduction of flights for both Air France and KLM, as well as regional airlines offering flights on the airlines’ behalf.
Ukraine International Airlines
Ukraine International Airlines announced all flights across its network will be suspended until April 3, with the exception of chartered repatriation flights. The move comes as the Ukraine government closed its borders to non-residents.
Uzbekistan Airways announced that all international flights operated by the airline will be suspended from March 17 until April 5.
The move comes per the Uzbekistan government after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country.
India’s Vistara is temporarily ceasing operations as Indian airspace is closing on March 25, according to a government press release. The closure affects all of India’s airlines and foreign airlines flying to or through the subcontinent.
Yemen’s Yemenia announced the suspension of flights for a period of two weeks starting March 18.
The suspension came per a Yemeni government mandate restricting flights to the Middle Eastern country.
South Africa’s Airlink is suspending operations from March 28 until April 20, according to its website. Domestic services within South Africa, in which the airline specialises, have been greatly impacted by the government implementing three-week travel restrictions lasting into late-April.
UK low-cost carrier EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet, the BBC reported, as Europe remains on lockdown. Over 300 of the carrier’s planes have been grounded in the UK where cases of the virus are skyrocketing and even affecting the country’s leaders and royalty.
The Caribbean’s Winair has suspended all flights until at least April 6, according to its website. The carrier primarily provides short-haul intra-island flights to various Caribbean islands with a notable base in Dutch Sint Maarten.
Australian low-cost airline Tigerair Australia is suspending flights entirely as government restrictions impede its operation. The suspension was announced by the airline, a subsidiary of Virgin Australia, on March 31 with no relaunch date as of yet.
Turkey’s SunExpress is suspending operations until the end of April. The announcement came as the Turkish government introduced travel restrictions on domestic and international flights affecting numerous airlines in the country.
Bahamasair has suspended operations indefinitely, the airline’s website reported, in an attempt to mitigate a spread of COVID-19 to the Bahamas. The archipelagic nation just 60 miles from South Florida is a popular tourist destination for North Americans and Europeans, two citizenries heavily affected by the virus.
El Al Israel Airlines
El Al Israel Airlines is suspending flights between March 27 and April 4, the Israeli flag carrier announced on its website.
The government of Israel has been struggling to contain the novel coronavirus as the country is a popular destination for tourists and religious pilgrims, with numerous travel restrictions being implemented by the government to prevent a worse outbreak.
Canada’s Harbour Air is suspending operations for the entire month of April, according to its website, with plans to relaunch operations on May 4. The move comes as Canada is tightening its self-isolation and stay at home restrictions to prevent a viral outbreak.
Zimbabwean low-cost carrier Fastjet Zimbabwe is suspending operations until mid-April, the airline announced.FlightGlobal reported that neighbouring South Africa’s travel restrictions took a large toll on Fastjet’s operation and contributed to the suspension.
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