Chinese airlines sell flights for £3.20 amid coronavirus crisis

Airlines in China are drastically cutting flight prices amid the coronavirus outbreak, including Shanghai-Chongqing one way for just 29 yuan (£3.20).

Chinese carriers are struggling, with two thirds of scheduled daily flights cancelled throughout February.

From 25 January to 14 February, China’s aviation industry confirmed that average daily passenger traffic was 470,000 – a 75 per cent drop year-on-year.

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Airlines are now hoping to boost domestic traffic by offering cut-price deals, reports the South China Morning Post, including the £3.20 fare, offered by Spring Airlines for the three-hour, 870 mile flight as a special offer for its frequent flyer club members.

Spring Airlines is also offering Shanghai to Harbin, a journey of 994 miles taking just over three hours, for 69 yuan (£7.60).

Other airlines are running offers too, including Shenzhen Airlines, part of state-owned carrier Air China, which has Shenzhen to Chongqing fares from 100 yuan (£11). This is around 5 per cent of the usual price of 1,940 yuan (£214).

Chengdu Airlines, part of Sichuan Airlines, also has one-way fares from Shenzhen to Chengdu for just 100 yuan (£11). The flight covers 808 miles and takes two hours and 40 minutes.

Almost 100,000 flights were cancelled during the first month of the coronavirus outbreak, with the same number again estimated to have been proactively removed from the schedules.

The figures have been calculated by the data analyst, Cirium, for the period between 23 January and 18 February 2020.

The grounded flights account for over two-thirds of China’s originally scheduled flights.

The cancellations have been so wide-ranging that they are denting global growth significantly.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all travel to mainland China and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have both suspended all flights.

The FCO is now warning: “If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be at heightened risk”.

The only other places the FCO advise against travelling too are 11 villages in northern Italy that are currently being quarantined and Daegu and Cheongdo, two designated “Special Care Zones” in South Korea that are also on lockdown.

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How to disinfect your plane seat amid coronavirus outbreak

As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, airlines are turning to super-strength disinfectants to sanitise planes before flights.

Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong carrier that has been hit by cancellations into mainland China, is disinfecting plane surfaces after every single flight, including meal tables and armrests. Planes that carried passengers with coronavirus are given an additional deep clean and disinfection.

Qantas is using Viraclean, a disinfectant that kills everything from Hepatitis B to herpes. The Australian flag carrier is also removing headrests, pillow covers and blankets among other things after every flight.

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Korean Air is similarly vigilant and is using MD-125 to disinfect its planes. The cleaning solution is able to kill off bacteria and viruses ranging from HIV to measles according to the company that makes it.

But if you want to be extra vigilant, there are precautions you can take yourself.

The risk of catching coronavirus through the air in the plane cabin is relatively low, unless you’re sitting right next to someone with the disease.

During the flight, the plane will draw in fresh air from the outside. It’s considered sterile as there are so few microorganisms at high altitude and it gets heated to over 250C according to a report by European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Around 50 per cent of the air in cabins is recirculated, but this goes through air filters similar to ones used in surgical environments before it’s pumped back into the plane.

It means that if you’re going to catch a bug on a flight, it’s likely to be from contact with someone with the virus or from surfaces.

How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it’s not clear how long this version of coronavirus, known as Covid-19, survives on surfaces.

However, it appears to be behaving like other coronaviruses, which means it could survive anywhere between a few hours to several days.

Is there anything I can do to disinfect my plane seat?

Airlines travelling to regions affected by coronavirus have stepped up their cleaning routine, which reduces the risks.

If you want to be extra careful, it’s worth bringing your own disinfectant wipes onboard with you – just make sure coronavirus is listed on the pack.

Kelly A. Reynolds, a professor and environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona, told The Points Guy: “Coronavirus is actually easy to kill.

“Studies have shown that disinfecting wipes and hand sanitisers can kill bacteria and viruses that are much more difficult to kill than coronavirus.

You will need to use the wipes on all the non-porous surfaces that your hands will come into contact with, such as the arm rest and tray table. Don’t forget the shades and walls if you’re sitting by the window – one of the best options for avoiding nasty bugs.

Make sure you read the instructions on your wipes as well, as in some cases, the surface you’re disinfecting will need to stay wet for several minutes while it gets to work.

Disinfecting upholstered seats can be harder, as the wipes won’t work on these surfaces. If you’re worried, you can pack a washable seat cover.

The most effective measure, though, is still to wash your hands frequently with water and soap or alcohol gel.

Is it worth wearing face masks and gloves?

Face masks and gloves are probably not going to protect you onboard a flight.

Dr Jake Dunning, head of emerging infections and zoonoses [infectious disease spread between humans and animals] at Public Health England, told The Independent that there is “very little evidence of a widespread benefit” in members of the public wearing masks.

There are a number of reasons for this.

He explained: “Face masks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene behaviour in order for them to be effective.”

And most of the paper options being worn do not have a respirator to filter out infectious air particles.

If they are not worn properly and are loose fitting it means that bacteria can easily access the nose and mouth. Experts have also warned coronavirus could enter the body through the eyes.

Gloves are similarly ineffective as you will be touching all the same surfaces.

A spokesperson for PHE told The Independent: “PHE is not recommending the use of gloves as a protective measure against Covid-19 for the general public.

“People concerned about the transmission of infectious diseases should prioritise good personal, respiratory and hand hygiene.”

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Tokyo Disneyland Temporarily Closed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Officials have announced that Tokyo Disneyland will be closed temporarily as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread in Japan.

According to, a spokesperson for park operator Oriental Land Co. revealed Friday Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea would close Saturday to guests and will not reopen until March 16 at the earliest.

The decision was made after the Japanese government recommended big gatherings and events be avoided for two weeks to curtail the spread of the viral infection. The decision leaves all of Walt Disney’s theme parks in Asia closed temporarily.

Oriental Land Co. said in a statement its refund policies would be updated as a result of the closure and the park operator would stay in “close contact with relevant institutions” regarding when it will be able to reopen.

Disney’s Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks closed temporarily in January, and officials from Universal Studios Japan in Osaka revealed the facility would also be closed through at least March 15.

Earlier this week, the longest-serving member of the International Olympic Committee said the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo in July could be canceled if the coronavirus outbreak shows no sign of dissipating.

The coronavirus outbreak is also spreading to other regions as well, with countries in Europe and the Middle East reporting confirmed cases, including Croatia, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and more.

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Meet the monk living at one of Mongolia's oldest monasteries

Monthly head shaves and daily two-hour chants: Meet the monk living at a monastery in Mongolia that survived Stalinist repression to become one of the country’s oldest

  • The Shankh Monastery, founded in 1647,  is located 224 miles from Ulaanbaatar 
  • It closed in 1937 during Stalinist repression – many of the monks were executed
  • After the revolution in 1990 it reopened and now 10 Buddhist monks live there

Battulga is a monk at the Shankh Monastery

It’s eerily quiet when I approach the Shankh Monastery, one of Mongolia’s oldest Buddhist temples.

A few dogs bounce around, lone birds fly overhead and then the colourful robes of monk Battulga come into view.

The 33-year-old is happy to receive guests as he admits things can be quiet with just nine other monks living at the 17th-century complex. 

At its height, the place of worship – located 361km (224 miles) from the capital of Ulaanbaatar in the Övörkhangai province – housed more than 1,500 monks but in 1937 it was closed after being hit by Stalinist repression.

Buildings were destroyed and many of the monks were executed or sent to labour camps in Siberia. 

However, Battulga tells me through a translator that five monks secretly relocated the monastery’s activities to a ger (a type of tent) during the communist era and the ‘worshipping and chanting never stopped’. 

One of these monks helped to reopen the monastery in 1990 after the revolution and thankfully, the main temple dating to 1647 had escaped significant damage.

Today Shankh, along with the many other Buddhist monasteries scattered across Mongolia, helps form a key part of the country’s national identity. The whitewashed main temple features ornate woodwork, battered by the extreme weather, and plants can be seen protruding through the roof tiles.

Battulga tells me that when he was two years old he lost mother and then at the age of 11 he also lost his father to illness.

It was when he was in grade three, at the age of 14, that he then decided to become a monk. 

The devout Buddhist says he enjoys the simplicity of monastic life. He owns just two sets of red woollen robes

A shot showing Battulga’s traditional leather boots, which complete his outfit 

The devout Buddhist says he enjoys the simplicity of monastic life. 

He owns just two sets of woollen robes and a pair of traditional leather boots.

On the subject of self-maintenance, Battulga says he shaves his head just once a month as it tends to ‘grow back slowly’. 

Taking a moment to stretch his arms towards the sky, with the blue cuffs of his robes matching the blue hues above, he fills me in on his daily routine. 

He says: ‘I get up at seven o’clock in the morning and have breakfast and then chant for two hours.

‘Then I get up and have a break for lunch. After lunch, I do religious studies. 

Today Shankh, along with the many other Buddhist monasteries scattered across Mongolia, forms a key part of the country’s national identity

The main temple, dating to 1647, as it appears today with ornate woodwork and plants growing through the roof


Sadie Whitelocks travelled with Exodus Travels on the 14-day Mongolia: Steppes, Deserts & Nomads tour. Prices start from £3,399, including flights.

‘In the evening I take a break to play outside, then dinner and bed around 10 o’clock.’   

Battulga reveals that he eats milk porridge and doughnuts for breakfast and lunch and a portion of beef or mutton at dinner time. 

My translator, a bubbly lady from Ulaanbaatar also in her 30s, wants to know if Battulga is single. 

He says that he is, but the monks can get married if they wish and have a family.

If they choose this path, they can continue practising as a monk, but they cannot live at the monastery. 

So, what does it take to be a monk in the 21st century? 

Before heading into an outbuilding for a spot of milk porridge, Battulga replies with a smile: ‘You really have to have a kind spirit and be willing to help others.’ 

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'Overreaction'? Dominican Republic turns back cruise ship amid virus fears

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A cruise ship heading to the Dominican Republic to disembark hundreds of passengers after a 14-day tour was turned away on Thursday because officials feared eight of those aboard showed potential symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, officials announced.

a group of people standing in front of a large ship in the background: On Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 the Dominican Republic turned back the Braemar because some on board showed potential symptoms of the new coronavirus COVID-19.

A joint statement by the Public Health Ministry and Port Authority said the captain of the Braemar reported four Filipinos, two British citizens and two U.S. citizens were under medical observation for symptoms such as fever, coughing, or breathing difficulty.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines said in an emailed statement that it had reported “a small number of influenza-like cases on board. Our medical team has now advised that they are all feeling better. No guests or crew are, or have been, displaying symptoms that are considered to be consistent with those of Coronavirus.”

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Officials said the ship was carrying 1,128 passengers and 384 crew members. The cruise line said it was “awaiting advice on the next steps” and “liasing with a number of airlines to secure onward travel for guests.”

“It is our opinion that this is an overreaction by the Dominican Republic,” Fred. Olsen said in a written statement.

The cruise line’s website shows the ship had been due to pick up another load of passengers and set off on a new cruise Thursday night.

Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said the ship already had been barred by another port, which he did not specify.

Meanwhile, passengers on another vessel at the Mexican island of Cozumel faced yet another day in which they weren’t allowed to get off the ship, after they had been previously turned away from two ports.

The MSC Meraviglia, turned away by two nations due to fears of the virus outbreak, docked at Cozumel on Thursday and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said passengers would be allowed to disembark.

López Obrador said Mexico had to act with “humanity”after the ship was refused entry at ports in Grand Cayman and Jamaica.

But Alejandra Aguirre, the health secretary of the coastal state of Quintana Roo, said two people had been detected with acute respiratory infections not believed to be the new coronavirus and that other passengers wouldn’t be allowed off until tests on those two came back later Thursday.

The two were identified as a 27-year-old male crew member from the Philippines and a 30-year-old female passenger from France.

MSC said in a statement that the two passengers were now symptom-free and the ship would remain in Cozumel. Assuming clearance to disembark is given, passengers would be free to tour Cozumel through the end of Friday.

The cruise line had expressed frustration with the rejections, which came after it reported the crew member was sick with common seasonal flu.

“The ship is being allowed to dock and the passengers, those who are aboard the cruise ship, can disembark,” López Obrador said, adding that health inspections will be carried out.

“We cannot act with discrimination,” he said. “Imagine if a ship arrived and it wasn’t even allowed to dock, and they were told, ‘Keep going on your way, see where you can dock.’ That is inhuman.”

He added “we cannot close our ports, nor can we close our airports.”

“Imagine the desperation and everything it implies, almost 5,000 people on a ship and they cannot get off,” he said. “Why such backward attitudes?”

The case of the Meraviglia illustrated the crisis of nerves over the COVID-19 virus. Mexico has no confirmed cases and MSC Cruises said the crew member had only common seasonal flu, had been placed in isolation and had “nearly recovered.”

Local media showed a small knot of Cozumel residents near the cruise ship dock demanding that passengers not be allowed to disembark, citing fears about potential contagion or effects on the tourism-dependent economy.

Just minutes after López Obrador spoke Thursday, the governor of the Quintana Roo state, where Cozumel is located, confirmed the ship had docked, but said “no authorization has been given” yet for passengers to disembark.

Gov. Carlos Joaquin wrote that health inspections would have to be carried out first.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Overreaction’? Dominican Republic turns back cruise ship amid virus fears

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Martin Lewis issues warning on travel insurance as coronavirus crisis continues

Earlier today, two more Brits tested positive for the coronavirus bringing the total number of cases to 19 in the UK.

Millions of holidays are currently at risk as the coronavirus outbreak has caused numbers of airlines to cancel flights.

So what does that mean for those who have booked holidays in the upcoming weeks?

Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert, appeared on Good Morning Britain yesterday to discuss the importance of travel insurance.

He told ITV viewers: “This is a big warning. I do it every year – I talk about booking travel insurance ASAB – as soon as you book.

“Because if you don’t and something happens in the meantime before you get travel insurance, you’re not covered."

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Martin, 47, continued: "Well, anyone who has booked a holiday now for this year – if you have not got travel insurance, if you get the travel insurance and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office then says you can’t go to a country, you’re covered.

“If the Foreign & Commonwealth Office rules out a country in future and you haven’t got travel insurance at that point, you’re not covered. Get your travel insurance now if you’ve booked your holiday.

“Because if for example you have skiing trip and in two weeks time they say ‘you can’t go’ but you haven’t got your travel insurance yet because you are going in four weeks time, you’re not covered.

“But if you get it now, you are covered. ASAB has never been more important for travel insurance. If you booked a holiday, you should have travel insurance in place now, if you don’t go and do it now."

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So what do you do if you have a flight booked?

We’d recommend looking at Foreign Office advice before cancelling your holiday, although there are warnings against certain countries, the government body hasn’t told Brits not to travel.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “People are understandably concerned about how their travel plans will be impacted, and a lack of clear and timely information has left many travellers confused about their options.

“While the government has now updated its advice to cover the Italian locations that have experienced an outbreak, those travelling to nearby cities like Milan or Verona still won’t be able to cancel and claim on travel insurance, nor will those travelling to Tenerife.”

  • Martin Lewis
  • Coronavirus

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Coronavirus hits Abu Dhabi: Two hotels on lockdown as guests test positive for virus

Coronavirus has hit the Middle East, with two people testing positive for the virus. They are reported to both be Italian. According to state-run media, two hotels are now in lockdown as authorities look to contain the spread of the virus.


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The reports come UAE news agency WAM, who say that guests at the two hotels “interacted with two Italians diagnosed with coronavirus” have been placed under an emergency quarantine.

Other people who also interacted with the two sufferers on Yas island have been isolated at home according to the health department of Abu Dhabi.

The two Italians received their positive test results on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the Marriot-owned Abu Dhabi confirmed to the BBC that it had been placed under a “temporary lockdown”.

All guests in the hotel are now undergoing a screening process.

The W spokeswomen added: “The safety and well-being of our guests is of paramount importance to us and we will comply with the direction provided by the authorities.”

It is thought that both hotels had been hosting cyclists and crew for the UAE Tour race.

Reports circulating state that the Italians were part of race staff.

According to BBC Sport riders at the event, including Britain’s Chris Froome, are now being tested for the virus.

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The event’s organises have since confirmed the next stages of the race will no longer go ahead.

The news follows the quarantine of a hotel in Tenerife, Canary Islands, where hotel guests have been placed under lockdown after an Italian guest was taken to hospital suffering from symptoms.

He and his wife both tested positive for the deadly virus.

Hotel guests were informed they would not be allowed to leave when a notice was posted under their bedroom doors.


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Hotel guests staying at the H1 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife will remain under quarantine until the middle of March.

Over 100 tourists staying at the hotel have been told they can not leave “until the sanitary authorities warn.”

Italy has become one of the worst affected regions outside of Asia, with the number of sufferers rapidly soaring day-on-day.

At the time of writing there are 655 confirmed cases in the country. While 45 patients are said to have recovered, 17 have lost their lives.

Meanwhile, globally more than 83,000 people have contracted the disease.

The illness has seeped into 35 countries after starting in Wuhan China.

In the UK alone there are now 19 confirmed cases.

The World Health Organisation has issued advice for travellers following the outbreak.

Though they do not advise against all travel, they do suggest following the advice of authorities in affected regions and following sanitary precautions.

They remain firm that one of the best ways to avoid the illness is by practising good hand hygiene.

This means washing hands with soap and water, as well as using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention also add: “Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.”

However, travel experts aren’t convinced that it is safe.

Travel pro Simon Calder pointed to airports as one of the wort places for the spread of disease.

He went so far as to describe airports as “the biohazard cauldrons of the world.”

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning the expert told Holly Willoughby and Phillip that we’re in “unprecedented territory”.

He explained that coronavirus is going to cause a “great deal of anxiety” for those booked to travel to destinations where cases have been reported.

“What happens if we get locked down” is more of a concern for holidaymakers rather than actually contracting the virus,” said Calder, “and that’s a real worry.”

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Cruise: Look inside the transformed Celebrity Silhouette – part of a £380m investment

Celebrity Cruises is set to unveil its newly transformed Celebrity Silhouette ship to cruisers following a 42-day makeover period which has transformed the ship. The bow-to-stern renovation is part of a £380 million fleet-wide investment dubbed “The Celebrity Revolution” set to boost the cruise line’s offering.


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With a push to develop modern elements, the Celebrity Silhouette will welcome state-of-the-art features with a luxury edge.

Returning to its homeport in Southampton, cruisers will be able to experience the ship first-hand as of May 1.

The cruise ship will then depart on its first sailing since the transformation.

From upgraded suites to the introduction of new bars and eateries, there are plenty of new additions to keep cruisers busy.

Meanwhile, technology has been installed throughout to streamline passenger experience.

The addition of facial recognition technology means that guest will now benefit from a “frictionless terminal experience and expedited boarding.” Plus the Celebrity Cruise’s mobile app will boast a guest-to-guest chat feature and, for the first time, the introduction of digital room keys.

All staterooms and suites have been refreshed, with the addition of new bedding, mattresses, televisions and upgraded amenities. Plus six new staterooms have been added, including two new sunset suites.

Suite guests can also now benefit from a brand new all-inclusive area exclusively for them.

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Named The Retreat Sundeck, the hideaway boasts luxurious cabanas, loungers, a hot tub, private bar, as well as an exclusive 24/7 lounge which offers complimentary snacks and beverages.

Meanwhile, ship-wide cruisers can rest assured there will be plenty to keep them occupied.

A brand new eatery, the Craft Social, will offer a relaxed atmosphere as well as more than 40 craft beers.

Cruisers can pick from a selection of food favourites, as well as wine and cocktails on tap.


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Cocktail lovers can also head straight for the dedicated bar now open on board. The Entertainment Court bar will offer a full menu of delicious mixed drinks to choose from, in an opulent and sophisticated surrounding.

Meanwhile, the Lawn Club has also seen an update, welcoming a series of alcove seating for extra privacy, as well as an oversized outdoor movie screen for boosted entertainment.

If cruisers are hoping to stay active, they can head to the ship’s updated fitness centre, which has welcomed a host of new machines and equipment.

The solarium and pool deck have been refreshed, now the perfect spot to chill out on a sunny day.

Shopaholics won’t have to go far to satisfy their needs either.

The ship has welcomed a selection of new retailers including vintage brand What Goes Around Comes Around; artisan-driven Lemlem, featuring a collection of resort wear, shoes and handbags made entirely in Africa; Tarbay, a collection from Venezuela that features handcrafted fine jewellery; Tao Company Jewelery by Vanessa Arcila, k; and a brand new destination shop, Point B.

Elsewhere, an enhanced art gallery brings a touch of culture to the onboard offering.

The ship’s casino and conjoining bar have also had a fresh update.

“The modernisation of Celebrity Silhouette takes one of the most gorgeous ships in our fleet closer to the Edge,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

“In many spaces, we worked down to the studs and built it all back up again in the modern, ultra-luxurious style that is synonymous with our innovative Edge Series, while still keeping much of the Solstice Series charm and beauty our guests have grown to cherish.”

The ship will embark on its first voyage since the makeover on May 1, spending eight nights spanning Spain and France.

Tickets start as low as £715 per person for an interior stateroom.

Ports of call include

Later in 2020, the ship will take on a 14-night Scandinavia and St Petersburg cruise, as well as a seven-night Norwegian Cruise.

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easyJet flights cancelled as coronavirus sweeps Europe – could your holiday face ruin?

Budget airline easyJet announced this morning that it would be cancelling some of its flights into and out of Europe, particularly Italy, as coronavirus sweeps the continent. As demand for travel slips, the airline has revealed ways it hopes to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.


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In a statement issued to the markets this morning, easyJet said: “Following the increased incidence of COVID-19 cases in Northern Italy, we have seen a significant softening of demand and load factors into and out of our Northern Italian bases.

“Further, we are also seeing some slower demand across our other European markets.

“As a result, we will be making decisions to cancel some flights, particularly those into and out of Italy while continuing to monitor the situation and adapting our flying programme to support demand. 

“While it is too early to determine what the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak will be on current year outlook and guidance for both the Airline and Holidays business, we continue to monitor the situation carefully and will update the market in due course.  

“easyJet is working closely with authorities and are following the guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation and EASA to ensure the health and wellbeing of our people and customers.”

The airline is also looking for other ways to lessen the financial blow caused by a lack of demand from travellers.

An easyJet spokesperson told “We can confirm that we have taken the decision to cancel a number of flights mainly to and from Italy following a slowing in demand as a result of concerns over Covid-19.

“The cancellations are for some flights between 13 March and 31 March 2020, most of which have multiple daily frequencies.

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“Customers are being contacted and moved onto flights operating on the same day or alternatively have been offered a full refund.

“Standard terms and conditions apply on all flights which are unaffected as they will be operating as normal.”

Airline executives have also decided to put in place budget cuts in administrative areas, recruitment, promotion and pay-freezes across its network and offering unpaid leave to staff.

Over the course of last weekend, cases of the virus began to spread rapidly throughout Italy with the government forcing certain municipalities in the northern part of the country into quarantine.


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Currently, there are 655 confirmed cases in Italy, and 17 sufferers have lost their lives.

Elsewhere in Europe there have been confirmed cases in Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Croatia, Greece, Finland, Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Romania.

The UK currently has 16 confirmed cases, 8 of which have recovered.

Though the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not told travellers to avoid their plans altogether, it has issued warnings for those heading to infected areas.

For those heading to Italy the FCO warns: “The FCO advise against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy (Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano) and one in Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo), which have been isolated by the Italian authorities due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Meanwhile, experts have dubbed airports a “biohazard cauldron” and one of the most dangerous places for contracting the illness.

Travel expert Simon Calder said: “It’s a microbiological party, everybody from around the world converges with their own personal germs and they all get mixed up, particularly at the security area.”

He advises those passing through airports to keep a distance from others, and make sure to wash their hands frequently.

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LATAM signs loyalty reciprocation deal with Delta Air Lines

LATAM Airlines Group has signed a loyalty program agreement with Delta that will enable reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.

The deal will come into effect on April 1st. 

Once the agreement is implemented, LATAM Pass members will be able to accrue and redeem miles on Delta flights across its network of over 300 destinations worldwide.

Likewise, Delta SkyMiles members will be able to earn and use miles on LATAM flights to 145 destinations in 26 countries across five continents.

The carriers are also working to expand reciprocal lounge access benefits to more airports in the Americas and establish mutual top tier recognition during the first half of 2020.

“With this frequent flyer agreement and codeshares, LATAM and its affiliates can now offer customers some of the first tangible benefits that the framework agreement with Delta promises to deliver,” said Roberto Alvo, chief commercial officer, LATAM Airlines Group.

“Today, customers can already take advantage of industry leading connectivity between North and South America, as we continue to advance on our path to creating the best passenger experience and route network on the continent.”

As another milestone, LATAM customers can purchase flights covered by the codeshares between Delta and LATAM Airlines Peru (for flights operating from March 29th) and LATAM Airlines Ecuador (for flights operating from March 15th) respectively, offering up to 74 onward routes in the United States and Canada.

Delta passengers can also buy flights covered by the codeshares with LATAM’s affiliates in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, offering up to 51 onward routes in South America.

LATAM Airlines Brazil has also signed a codeshare agreement with Delta that will come into effect during the first half of 2020, subject to regulatory approval.

LATAM Airlines Brazil’s ‘LA’ code will be added to Delta flights from New York/JFK, Miami, Boston and Orlando to up to 65 onward routes in the United States and Canada.

Likewise, Delta’s ‘DL’ code will be added to LATAM Airlines Brazil flights from São Paulo/GRU and Rio de Janeiro/GIG to up to 37 onward routes in Brazil.

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