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Norwegian cancels more than 4,000 flights due to Covid-19

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Low cost airline Norwegian has cancelled more than 4,000 flights and will implement layoffs due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The carrier announced it has grounded 40% of its long-haul fleet and cancelled up to a quarter of its short-haul flights until the end of May.

This comes after President Donald Trump unveiled restrictions on travel from mainland Europe to the US.

Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram said: “This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues.

“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation.

“We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery.”

All routes between Gatwick and the US will continue to operate as normal.

Destinations which will see most of its US flights cancelled include Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid and Oslo.

Temporary layoffs of “up to 50%” will be implemented, and “the number may increase”, the airline warned.

The coronavirus outbreak has severely reduced demand for air travel.

British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have cancelled hundreds of flights, while Virgin Atlantic has admitted some of its planes are “almost empty”.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents airlines around the world, has predicted that revenue losses for 2020 could reach 113 billion US dollars (£88 billion).