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Ryanair likely to suspend all non-essential flights
18 March 2020, 21:18
Ryanair has announced it may suspend all flights except those providing "essential connectivity", due to the coronavirus.
More than four out of five flights will be cancelled between Thursday and March 24.
After that period "we expect that most if not all Ryanair Group flights will be grounded", the airline said.
An exception will be "a very small number of flights to maintain essential connectivity, mostly between the UK and Ireland".
Ryanair said details of the severely reduced schedule can be found on the travel advisory page on the Ryanair.com website.
Jet2.com has suspended its flying programme until at least next month.
It comes as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps held a call with major airlines an airports on Wednesday and said the government was committed to helping the sector while thanking them for helping bring home British nationals stranded abroad.
He said: "Coronavirus is having a crippling impact on the aviation industry and we cannot allow it to force world-leading, well-run, profitable firms out of business.
"We are extremely grateful to airport and airline teams who are continuing to help passengers get home safely. We stand firmly behind the sector and expect to announce a series of support measures shortly."
Tim Alderslade, chief executive Airlines UK, added: "Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the airline sector, leading to an unprecedented fall in demand and a world-class UK industry facing a truly uncertain future.
"The promise from government to step in with a bespoke package of support for aviation to get us through the coming months is therefore very welcome, and we are currently working with ministers to go through the detail of what this might entail and hope an announcement will be made in the coming days."
All airlines have slashed their flights in recent days due to travel restrictions and a collapse in demand caused by the spread of the coronavirus.
Trade body the Airport Operators Association (AOA) has warned that airports will shut down "within weeks" without Government intervention.
On Tuesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that a package of measures would be agreed to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on aviation.