Coronavirus has officially been named as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation and is hitting the air industry hard. As fear rises the demand for international travel is plummeting.
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British Airways boss Alex Cruz has described the effects of the deadly virus on the in as worse than 9/11 and the financial crisis according to reports. The news came following the leak of an internal video message to staff from the BA boss.
In the video, Sky News reports the airline boss said: It is a crisis of global proportions like no other we have known.”
“Please do not underestimate the seriousness of this for our company,” he added.”
Following suit of other airlines, including Norwegian, which has been forced to lay off staff, it is speculated that BA will also be letting members of their workforce go.
Mr Cruz said jobs will be lost “perhaps for a short period, perhaps long term.”
The company is also said to be in talks with trade unions, according to Sky News.
The video is reported to have been titled “the survival of British Airways”.
The Daily Mail reports that Mr Cruz stated that the airline is under “immense pressure” and would “have to react fast and definitively in response to the worsening situation” but will remain resilient.
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Express.co.uk contacted BA but a spokesperson refused to comment on the situation.
The news comes as BA was forced to cancel numerous flights including journeys to mainland China, Italy and Spain in a bid to slow the spread of the disease.
British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Italy until at least April 4 but will continue to work with authorities to determine a safe time to restart travel.
Flights to mainland China were grounded some weeks ago when the virus was first detected.
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These journeys will continue to be suspended until April 18.
BA made the decision to pull all flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai until April 17 2020.
The airline has also reduced its schedule to Hong Kong, merging two daily flights into one.
Additionally, one New York flight from Heathrow was removed from BA’s daily itinerary.
It is anticipated that the British carrier will slash a further 400 flights between March 16 and 28.
The airline is reportedly working in accordance with advice from relevant authorities.
Further panic engulfed the industry when President Donald Trump announced he would be cutting all travel between Europe and the United States, causing chaos for countless European carriers.
At the time of writing travel between the UK and US is still continuing, though there is uncertainty ahead.
Airlines such as Norwegian have announced they will be suspending more than 4,000 flights as well as implementing layoffs to staff.
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