Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Airlines ground thousands of flights to Italy

British Airways and Jet2 have grounded all flights to Italy after the Foreign Office changed its advice yesterday to warn against all but essential travel to the whole of the country.

Ryanair will suspended all Italian domestic flights from tomorrow until April 8 and all its international flights to and from Italy will be suspended from midnight on Friday to midnight on April 8.

In a statement, Ryanair said: "Passengers looking for repatriation can obtain a free move to an earlier Ryanair flight operating up until midnight Friday 13 Mar. Affected passengers will be able to choose between a full refund or a travel credit that can be redeemed on Ryanair flights in the next 12 months."

Other airlines have also suspended some services to the country where there have been more than 9000 cases of coronavirus and 463 deaths so far.

Some cancellations will last at least until April, and possibly longer, depending on how the coronavirus outbreak in Italy is managed.

BA has cancelled 60 flights today to cities including Milan, Venice and Rome. A spokesperson said: "In light of the Italian government's announcement and the UK government's official travel advice, we have contacted all customers who are due to travel today.

"We have updated our policy to give customers more options and flexibility. Any travellers due to fly to or from Italy between now and April 4 can rebook to a later date up until the end of May, move their destination to Geneva or Zurich or receive a full refund." has grounded all flights to Italy until April 26. In a statement, it said it is making plans to fly passengers home from the destination.

The decision to ground flights comes as tour operators, including ski specialists Inghams and Crystal, are trying to fly home guests from Italian ski resorts, which have ended the season early due to the coronavirus outbreak.

EasyJet is continuing to fly to cities in the south of Italy, including Rome and Naples, despite a blanket travel ban imposed by the Italian government, but a spokesperson said: "Following the latest decree issued 9 March by the Italian authorities, easyJet is currently reviewing its scheduled programme between 10 March and 3 April 2020.

"The majority of flights to and from Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona have been cancelled for the coming days and affected customers are being advised of their options by email and SMS which include rebooking and refunding."

However, easyJet is also operating a number of rescue flights from Milan, including services to Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester over the next three days. Passengers can book online or just turn up at the airport as early as possible and wait for a seat.

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