American Airlines said it would cut its two daily services between Miami and New York JFK and Milan, Italy on Saturday evening citing a reduction in demand because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Italy has witnessed the largest outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe and has placed several small towns in the north of the country in lockdown in an attempt to prevent its spread.
Despite the Italian government introducing some of the toughest travel restrictions on Chinese nationals at the outset of the outbreak in Wuhan, the country announced earlier Saturday that the number of cases had exceeded 1,000. In the past 24-hours cases of the Coronavirus in Italy rose by 240. The death toll in the country is now 29.
The Italian outbreak has been responsible for transmissions in a number of other European countries, including in a holiday resort on the Spanish island of Tenerife where hundreds of holidaymakers who put into quarantine.
In a statement, American said it would be contacting customers over the next few days to discuss their options and “accommodate their needs”. Flights won’t be reinstated until at least April 25. American’s move follows a decision by Turkish authorities to halt all flights to and from Italy, as well as Iraq and South Korea.
South Korea is the second-worst affected country after China, where officials urged citizens to remain locked indoors over the weekend in a desperate bid to prevent further transmission of the virus.
Also on Saturday, President Trump issued a Presidential Proclamation banning all foreign national who has been in Iran within the last 14-days (the incubation period of the Coronavirus). There is a growing fear that community transmission of the virus in Iran is far higher than officials have publicly let on.
“Iran is not a trustworthy state actor, as it has repeatedly demonstrated through its history of engaging in malign activity,” President Trump said of his decision. He said people arriving in the United States threatened “the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security.”
Several other countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have already banned flights to and from Iran over fears of the true scale of the outbreak in the country.
American citizens and permanent residents returning to the United States from Iran will have to enter through a CDC approved airport for screening and assessment
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.