British Airways (BA) and Ryanair have cancelled all of their flights to and from Italy today after the entire country was placed into travel lockdown as coronavirus continued to ravage its population.
BA, which operates 60 routes to the country, had previously cancelled a raft of flights to the north of the country, but has now extended the suspension to its entire Italian network.
The decision was taken in light of advice from the Foreign Office, which warned against “all but essential” travel to Italy due to the spread of the virus.
The death toll in Italy has now risen to 463, with more than 9,000 confirmed cases, leading Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte to declare the situation the country’s “darkest hour”.
In a statement, the company 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 4 April can rebook to a later date up until the end of May, move their destination to Geneva or Zurich or receive a full refund.”
Yesterday Ryanair announced that it would severely reduce its services to the country, but have now decided to suspended their full service to Italy.
For international flights the suspensions will begin on Friday and last until 8 April. Full domestic restrictions will begin tomorrow and also last until the same date.
The firm said that passengers looking for repatriation can obtain a free move to an earlier Ryanair flight operating up until midnight 13 March.
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, such as Easyjet and Norwegian, have put in place similar measures in response to the clampdown.
In a statement, Easyjet said: “Following the latest decree issued 9 March by the Italian authorities implementing further restrictions for the whole of Italy, Easyjet is currently reviewing its scheduled programme between 10 March and 3 April.
“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.”
Budget carrier Norwegian Air has temporarily halted all flights as well, extending the suspension of flights to the worst hit areas in northern Italy it put in place last week.