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US airlines slash flights over COVID-19 crisis

US airlines slash flights over COVID-19 crisis

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A number of grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are shown parked at Victorville Airport in Victorville, California, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

WASHINGTON: United States' airlines have announced drastic reductions in flights after President Donald Trump's administration banned foreign travellers arriving from Europe.

American Airlines said it would reduce all international capacity by 75 per cent.

READ: US extends travel ban to UK, Ireland; reviews domestic curbs

"This suspension will last through May 6," the carrier said. "This change is in response to decreased demand and changes to US government travel restrictions due to coronavirus."

It also said domestic service would be reduced by 20 per cent in April compared to last year.

Its competitor Delta said it would "significantly reduce its US to Europe flying beginning Monday, Mar 16, following the US government directive restricting travel between the US and Europe".

Southwest Airlines said it "will likely make service reductions based on demand".

The restrictions on travel from Europe took effect at midnight Friday and were later extended to Britain and Ireland as of Tuesday.

US airlines had already suspended flights between the US and Italy, hard-hit by the virus, and earlier between the US and China where the new coronavirus emerged in December.

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