Air India on Tuesday announced temporary suspension of its entire services to Europe and the UK from March 19 as another carrier GoAir said it was suspending all international operations from March 17 for a month.
Air India said in a tweet that the decision to suspend air services to the UK and the European Union member countries was taken in the wake of travel and visa restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“All pax travelling to UK & Europe, may kindly note that in view of DGCA instructions regarding travel and visa restrictions related to #COVID2019, all flights to/from UK & Europe will operate only till 18th March 2020 & will remain suspended from 19th to 31st March, 2020,” the national carrier said.
In another tweet, Air India said its eight flights connecting Indian cities to London, Vienna, Frankfurt, Paris and Birmingham will remain suspended till March 31.
It had earlier suspended temporarily services to Milan, Rome and Madrid.
The airline also rescheduled its Mumbai-London, London-Mumbai Ahmedabad-London and London-Bengaluru flights on March 18.
Air India has flights to London and Birmingham in the UK, and Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Madrid, Vienna, Stockholm and Copenhagen in other European countries.
Meanwhile, budget carrier GoAir said it was temporarily suspending all international operations, starting March 17 until April 15.
The carrier flies to eight international destinations including Phuket, Male, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bangkok, Kuwait, and Dammam.
After the suspension of international operations, the number of daily flights has come down to 280 from 325, an airline official said.
The airline also announced leave without pay programme for its staff on a rotational basis as it claimed “unprecedented” decline in air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re temporarily suspending all our international operations, starting 17th March-15th April. GoAir has also initiated a short term and temporary rotational leave without pay program that will not only help the company counter the short term reduction in capacity but will also ensure that a cross-section of our employees stay away from the workplace to ensure business continuity,” it said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed Europe the new epicentre of coronavirus as the number of cases has risen dramatically in countries like Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany.
Italy has reported most number of infections outside China, with 23,073 positive cases and 2158 deaths.