Wizz Air has cancelled flights to northern Italy as COVID-19 spreads at an alarming pace throughout the country. As demand for flights to the region has declined, the airline made the decision to pull some of its scheduled journeys.
The flights affected are between March 11 and April 2 2020. During this period around 60 percent of the airline’s usual routes will be impacted.
Wizz Air is currently contacting passengers who have bookings for these dates.
The airline said: “Passengers with bookings affected by this change will be automatically informed and accommodated on an alternative route at the earliest possible date, but at least 14 days prior to the original date of the flight.
“Customers who have booked directly on wizzair.com or the airline’s mobile app will receive an email notification, in which they are offered the free rebooking or full refund or 120 percent refund of the original fare in airline credit.”
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The news comes as the number of infected people in Italy reaches 655. There have been 17 fatalities.
Certain regions in northern Italy have been placed under emergency quarantine, with Italian authorities enforcing strict consequences for those who decide to break the isolation rules.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a travel warning urging Britons not to travel to 11 towns across the Lombardy and Veneto Regions.
A statement on the FCO website reads: “The FCO advise against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo), which have been isolated by the Italian authorities due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).”
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The FCO adds: “The government of Italy has introduced extraordinary measures that allow regions to implement civil protection measures in response to coronavirus, including the isolation of these towns.”
Wizz Air follows in the footsteps of other leading airlines including easyJet and British Airways who have also announced reduced flight schedules due to lack of demand.
easyJet announced this morning it would be putting in place flight cancellations in a bid to mitigate financial losses.
The airline also listed budget cuts in administrative areas, recruitment, promotion and pay-freezes across its network and offering unpaid leave to staff.
An easyJet spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We can confirm that we have taken the decision to cancel a number of flights mainly to and from Italy following a slowing in demand as a result of concerns over COVID-19.
“The cancellations are for some flights between 13 March and 31 March 2020, most of which have multiple daily frequencies.
“Customers are being contacted and moved onto flights operating on the same day or alternatively have been offered a full refund.
“Standard terms and conditions apply on all flights which are unaffected as they will be operating as normal.”
British Airways has also pulled a number of flights to Milan.