March 9, 2020 / 3:25 PM / a month ago

Ryanair cuts more Italian flights to April 8 over coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: A Ryanair Boeing 737-800 plane takes off from the airport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, July 29, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ryanair on Monday said it would make further cuts to domestic and international flights to and from Italy until April 8 after the Italian government imposed travel restrictions in the north of the country to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Europe’s biggest low-cost airline said it would suspend all Italian domestic flights to and from Bergamo, Parma, Treviso and Milan’s Malpensa airport from Tuesday. The airline will also run a severely reduced international schedule to and from those four cities as well as Venice and Rimini, operating only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

On March 2, Ryanair said it would cut capacity in and out of Italy, its largest market, by 25% from March 17 to April 8 due to a significant drop off in bookings since Europe’s single largest coronavirus outbreak began.

“While inbound traffic to Northern Italy has suffered large numbers of “no shows” over the past week, there are many thousands of non-Italian visitors in the Lombardy and other affected regions who are scheduled to return home,” the airline said in a statement on Monday.

“Ryanair must continue to run this restricted schedule to repatriate these non-Italian citizens.”

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told Reuters last week that he expected April and May bookings to fall 10% due to the virus, dealing a “meaningful impact” to quarterly earnings, but predicted that the situation would stabilise by early summer.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by David Goodman and Jane Merriman

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