5 airlines are temporarily suspending operations as coronavirus and government restrictions shake the travel industry. Here's the full list.

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  • A reduction in the demand for travel combined with government-imposed travel restrictions has forced some airlines to temporarily suspend operations.
  • The US, Poland, Denmark, Latvia, and other countries have restricted access for non-citizens, hurting business for national and regional carriers alike.
  • European airlines Air Baltic, LOT Polish Airlines, La Compagnie, and Scandinavian Airlines were among the first to suspend their operations.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Numerous airlines are temporarily suspending operations as the travel industry is experiencing record low demand as COVID-19 spreads around the world.

The fear of contracting the virus combined with government restrictions on travel has negatively impacted the travel industry in a way that hasn't been seen since after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Airlines began canceling flights to hotspots including China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran as the virus spread outwards from Wuhan. But the industry quickly saw a reduction in demand to all destinations as cases popped up in almost every continent.

As cancellations starting overtaking bookings, airlines took measures to inspire confidence in booking flights by waiving change and/or cancellation fees for future bookings.

The reduction in demand was worsened by travel restrictions set in place by President Donald Trump that closed US borders to travelers who had visited the European Schengen Area, which was later expanded to include the UK and Ireland.

Here's the full list of airlines suspending operations due to the spread of coronavirus and government-imposed travel restrictions.

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La Compagnie

La Compagnie

French boutique airline La Compagnie announced on Thursday that it would be suspending operations until the president's travel restrictions lift. The entirely business class airline operates two routes, both from the French cities of Paris and Nice to Newark, New Jersey.

Despite Newark Liberty International Airport operating as an approved entry airport for the United States under President Trump's travel ban, passengers not approved to enter the country, including non-US citizens or permanent residents, would not be allowed to board flights originating in France.

The airline is one of the world's smallest with a fleet of only two Airbus A321neo aircraft exclusively operating the airline's transatlantic routes. XL Airways France, a sister airline operating low-cost, long-haul services from Paris, folded in 2019 with La Compagnie at risk to do the same as COVID-19 marches across France and continues to scare travelers from heading overseas.

La Compagnie expects to resume operations once the ban expires with one daily flight between Newark and Paris on April 15 while pushing back the launch of seasonal Newark-Nice service until June 1.

LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines

LOT Polish Airlines is suspending its operations in Poland and Hungary following a directive from the government of Poland to close its borders in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Polish flag carrier primarily operates flights from a base in Warsaw with a secondary base in Budapest, Hungary.

Poland has not been hard hit by the novel coronavirus, with Polish news outlet Poland In reporting only 119 cases of the virus and only three deaths as of Sunday. The Eastern European country is not the first to restrict access to its territory in response to COVID-19 with nearby Latvia closing its borders as well.

As part of the Schengen Area, Poland was one of the countries affected by President Trump's travel ban and its national carrier was among the airlines losing passengers as a result. LOT Polish plans to resume flights after March 28 when the government's ban is lifted.

Air Baltic

Air Baltic

Air Baltic announced that it will suspend all operations as the government of Latvia, where the carrier is based, has decided to largely close its borders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in its country. The carrier will cease operations from March 17 until April 15, including in Estonia and Lithuania where it has secondary bases.

In the days leading up to the suspension, extra flights will be operated to accommodate passengers otherwise left stranded as more and more countries turn away foreigners with the hopes of protecting their populations from the virus.

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

SAS Scandinavian Airlines

SAS Scandinavian Airlines announced on Sunday that it would be suspending most of its operations due to a decrease in demand for travel with an unknown resumption date. The airline which represents Denmark, Sweden, and Norway cited a lack of demand from the global spread of the virus combined with the closure of numerous national borders.

Denmark, where SAS maintains a sizeable intercontinental base in the country's capital of Copenhagen, has itself suspended entry from international visitors for a month. The Danish government's restrictions cut to the core of SAS' business especially as the airline inducted a new long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 XWB, to be based at Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport.

The airline was also heavily affected by President Trump's travel restrictions as all three Scandinavian countries are members of the European Schengen Area.

Royal Jordanian

Royal Jordanian

Royal Jordanian Airlines announced on Sunday it would suspend all of its flights from Amman starting on March 17, becoming the first Middle Eastern airline to temporarily cease flying due to the spread of the virus. The suspension will remain in effect until the end of March.

The Jordanian flag carrier was forced to cancel the flights as the kingdom attempts to prevent an outbreak within its borders, the Jerusalem Post reported. Cases in the country are low but the country's economy, especially its tourism sector, has already taken a hit.


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