Several airlines suspended flight suspensions to Italy after a government quarantine on Sunday put several of the country’s northern regions into lockdown.
In an announcement on Monday afternoon, Ryanair Holdings plc (LON:RYA) said from midnight on 10 March until 9 April all of its Italian domestic flights to and from Bergamo, Malpensa, Parma, and Treviso will be suspended.
EasyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) suspended flights on Monday and said it was looking at more cancellations of routes flying to Milan, Verona and Venice up until the Easter holidays, with passengers offered a full refund or rebooking.
After Flybe Group ceased trading last week, analysts at Peel Hunt said, “we anticipate that other airlines will follow”.
However, the dramatic fall in oil prices might be enough to save some of the more vulnerable carriers, with a barrel of Brent crude down 19% at around US$36.
“At any other time a decline in oil prices would be treated as good news for consumers and airlines more broadly, however all it has done is magnify concerns about the weakness in the global economy at a time when coronavirus cases have continued to rise across the world,” said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets.
As of Monday afternoon, the Italian government has restricted travel across the region of Lombardy and 14 provinces in four other regions in a bid to prevent the infection spreading, effectively quarantining 16mln people.
The outbreak has so far infected around 7,375 people in Italy and caused over 360 deaths.
Ryanair’s shares fell 1.6% to €11.13 in late-afternoon trading, while IAG and Wizz Air were down 2% and easyJet down 1%.