British Airways said it has cancelled its flights to Italy on Tuesday after the country implemented a lockdown to control the deadly coronavirus epidemic.
Asked by AFP to confirm reports that it had axed all of its Italy flights for Tuesday, a BA spokeswoman replied: “Yes, today we have.”
BA added in a statement that it had “contacted all customers who are due to travel today”.
The company, which is owned by London-listed International Airlines Group, said passengers could rebook flights scheduled up to April 4.
Budget airline Ryanair followed suit announcing that all international flights to and from Italy would be cancelled from Saturday until April 9th.
Any passengers needing to return home can do so if they switch to a flight operating before Saturday.
British rival EasyJet added that it was in the process of cancelling “all of its existing scheduled flights touching Italy between 10 March and 3 April” following the restrictions by the Italian authorities.
“We will be operating rescue flights for passengers wishing to travel for essential, work, health or repatriation reasons to and from Italy,” it added.
French flag carrier Air France said it was suspending all flights to Italy from March 14 to April 3 due to the coronavirus outbreak in France's neighbour.
The company said in a statement that it would be maintaining one flight a day to all its destinations in Italy up until March 14 to allow customers to travel if they needed.
Ryanair blamed the Italian government's decision taken on Monday night to put the whole country under lockdown.
“Ryanair apologises sincerely to all customers for these schedule disruptions, which are caused by national government restrictions and the latest decision of the Italian government to lock down the entire country to combat the Covid-19 virus,” a statement from the airline said.
The Italian government has imposed unprecedented nationwide restrictions on its 60 million people as it desperately attempts to halt the progress of the fatal COVID-19 disease.