Wednesday 18 March 2020 2:56 pm

Coronavirus: Ryanair to ground 'most if not all' flights next week

Ryanair has said that it will ground the vast majority of its flights from next Tuesday, only maintaining essential services between the UK and Ireland, in light of widespread coronavirus travel bans.

In a statement, the budget carrier said that “most if not all Ryanair Group flights will be grounded” as passenger demand collapses due to the worsening outbreak.

Read more: Coronavirus: Government to lift financial assistance rules for struggling airlines

For the remainder of this week Ryanair will cut its flight schedules by 80 per cent, as it had previously said it would do for the duration of April and May.

Airlines around the world have taken similar measures to limit the financial impact of the coronavirus, of which there have now been more than 200,000 cases worldwide.

The UK aviation industry is currently waiting on details of a package of financial support aimed at keeping it airborne amid the crisis.

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Rishi Sunak said that he would be discussing the measures with transport secretary Grant Shapps in the coming days.

The Times today reported that these could involve tabling special legislation to lift the £12bn limit on financial support for industry.

Industry associations have warned that without extensive measures the UK aviation sector risks collapse.

Read more: Covid-19: IATA calls for $200bn in state aid for beleaguered airlines

Yesterday international body IATA estimated that the cost of protecting airlines around the world could be as high as $200bn.

Ryanair also said that it would take part in repatriation flights where necessary and possible.