Spirit Suspends Flights to and From Five Airports

In response to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the northeast of the U.S., Spirit Airlines will be suspending flights to and from five airports in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

In a statement to Fox News, Spirit confirmed that service to LaGuardia Airport, Niagara Falls International Airport, Plattsburgh International Airport, Hartford–Brainard Airport and Newark International Airport will be suspended “at least through May 4.” As of last year, Spirit Airlines was the fifth largest carrier in both LaGuardia Airport and Newark International Airport.

“Taking care of our Guests and Team Members continues to be our number one priority as we navigate these unprecedented times. Guests booked on these flights will receive emails notifying them of the change and explaining their options,” read the statement.

The decision was finalized following the CDC’s latest travel advisory warning warned against all non-essential travel to New York and the tri-state area for at least 14 days due to COVID-19 concerns.

As of March 31, New York and New Jersey have been the focal points of the pandemic in the United States, with nearly 70,000 reported cases in New York and over 16,500 reported cases in New Jersey. Connecticut has reported 2,571 cases of coronavirus.

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British Airways to temporarily halt Gatwick operations

British Airways will temporarily suspend operations at Gatwick Airport in London as travel demand continues to stall in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

International Airlines Group – owner of British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – has already announced huge cuts to services, with the British flag-carrier to focus efforts on Heathrow in the short term.

Gatwick itself is currently operating from a single terminal, following a sharp fall in flights.

easyJet, a major operator at the south London airport, yesterday said it would suspend all departures for the foreseeable future in response to the crisis in global travel.

A brief statement from British Airways said: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick. 

“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”

The carrier yesterday extended its American revolving credit facility as it seeks to boost its liquidity situation during the virtual shutdown of aviation.

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Rocky Mountaineer delays 2020 travel season

Rocky Mountaineer will extend the delay of its 2020 travel season and suspend all train departures until July 1st.

The season was scheduled to start on April 13th.

Guests on suspended departures will receive a future travel credit for 110 per cent of the value paid, which can be applied to a new departure in the 2020, 2021 or 2022 seasons.

Guests can contact their travel professional or the Rocky Mountaineer sales centre before November 30th next year to apply the future travel credit. 

“Our team is incredibly disappointed in not being able to start our season as originally planned.

“With the Canadian borders closed to international travellers until June 30th and other global travel mandates, it has become impossible for us to operate while these restrictions are in place,” said Steve Sammut, president and chief executive officer of Rocky Mountaineer.

“In addition to the future travel credit for guests impacted by the suspended departures, we have waived all fees associated with changing travel dates, so guests who are proactively calling us can move their train journey to later this year or 2021.

“Our hope is this will offer guests greater flexibility and time to make a decision regarding their travel plans.

“We sincerely thank our partners, guests, and team members for their patience and understanding as we work through these challenging times.” 

The resumption date of Rocky Mountaineer’s operations will be determined in accordance with travel restrictions and mandates from the Canadian and other international governments, the company added.

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US airports slated to get 10 billion in rescue funds

U.S. airports would receive $10 billion in grants under the
stimulus bill that passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday night.

Under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security (Cares) Act, nearly the entire $10 billion in airport grants would go
toward commercial airports. In exchange for the money, airports would be
required to retain at least 90% of their workforce through the end of this
year. 

General aviation airports are to get at least $100 million
under the legislation. 

Most of the commercial airport grants, amounting to $7.4
billion, is to be allocated proportionally based on the number of passengers
each airport served last year and a formula that weighs the debt service each
airport paid versus each airport’s unrestricted reserves. 

Another pot of $2 billion would be disbursed in more
progressive fashion, with small airports getting a proportionately larger share
of those funds. 

The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA)
trade group projects that the Covid-19 outbreak will cost U.S. airports at
least $13.9 billion this year. 

ACI-NA projects that passenger traffic at U.S. airports will
drop 37% in 2020 versus 2019. That would drive a drop of approximately $12.3
billion in airport operating revenue. Lost collections of passenger facility
charges, which consumers pay when they buy an airline ticket, will amount to
$1.6 billion this year, according to the ACI-NA projection.

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Emirates bids farewell to last flights before Covid-19 shutdown

A flight from Sao Paulo that landed on Wednedsay night was the last Emirates flight to arrive in Dubai

Emirates ground crews around the globe bid farewell to their last operating flights to Dubai before a temporary halt caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the airline has announced.

In a statement, Emirates said that flight EK 005 to London Heathrow – which departed on 24 March – was the last flight to take off from Dubai.

Flight EK 262 from Sao Paulo, which landed at 22:35 local time in Dubai, was the last flight to arrive in the emirate.

The Emirates statement said that outstation teams from 39 stations around the world – including Prague, Newark, Zurich and Seoul – sent off their last passenger flights before the suspension took effect.

“Over the next weeks Emirates’ operational teams will focus on preparing for service resumption,” the statement added.

As of March 25, Emirates has temporarily suspended all passenger flights from March 25.

“The airline will resume passenger services as it is possible to do so,” the statement said. “Emirates is still busy deploying its fleet of Boeing 777 freighters, bolstering international air cargo links for the transport of vital goods.”

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As Etihad Suspends Service, Qatar Marches On

As Etihad Airways becomes the second Middle Eastern airline to suspend service, joining Emirates, the third Gulf carrier marches on.

Etihad announced Monday it is temporarily suspending transit travel through its main hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Any passengers booked on connecting flights via Abu Dhabi to anywhere else on the Etihad network will not be permitted to travel.

Etihad is attempting to contact these guests to advise them of the development.

For now, only citizens of the United Arab Emirates, their immediate family members, diplomatic passport holders, and those with UAE-API (Advance Passenger Information) clearance will be allowed entry into Abu Dhabi.

The temporary suspension begins Wednesday, March 25, for an initial period of 14 days.

In the meantime, Qatar Airways said it will “remain committed to its passengers.”

“We appreciate this is a difficult time and that many people around the world are trying to find a way to get home. At Qatar Airways we continue to operate more than 150 flights per day so that as many people as possible can get home safely to their loved ones,” Qatar said in a statement. “As of 24 March, we are operating services to over 70 cities worldwide. We are constantly reviewing our operations to see where there is more demand and requests, and wherever possible we will add more flights or bigger aircraft. This is a challenging time for the aviation industry and we are thankful to airports and authorities and their staff around the world for their incredible efforts to help us get passengers home.”

Qatar has also amended its ‘Travel with Confidence’ and flight disruption policies. Customers who choose to receive a travel voucher for future use will receive the full unutilized value of their ticket plus an additional 10 percent of the fare cost as an added value offer.

Customers also have the option for a refund back to the form of payment they used when purchasing their tickets (which can take up to 30 days to process).

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