Airlines cut France flights amid Covid-19 restrictions

Pandemic forces airlines to cut services, while rail and bus travel in France also cut

23 March 2020
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Most, if not all, Ryanair flights will be grounded from Monday March 23 as the budget airline copes with travel restrictions imposed by governments.

It said that 80% of flights would be cut in the next week, and possibly all aircraft would be grounded.

Affected passengers are being contacted and can get a full refund, the airline claims.

Easyjet has already warned of “significant cancellations”, with the possible grounding of the majority of its planes. It has waived exchange fees.
British Airways has also cut schedules heavily, while Air France is keeping its largest aircraft on the ground. Its low-cost subsidiaries Transavia and Hop! are set to suspend all flights.

The other leading European airline, Norwegian, has cancelled 4,000 flights – about 85% of its rota – and laid off 7,300 staff, 90% of its workforce.

Its flights are now restricted to Scandinavian destinations.

Transport minister Elisabeth Borne said long-distance transport such as trains and coaches was also being “gradually reduced” due to the pandemic.

TGVs were indundated with passengers getting out of Paris before the lockdown started, heading for holiday homes or, for students, their parents’.

Now long-distance services have been cut by half and, in total, there is a reduction of 30% in all rail services.

Coach services have been suspended, with FlixBus and BlaBlaBus ceasing operations in France until the situation eases.

Travel is allowed under the lockdown regulations but not for leisure or holiday, and the journey fit one of the accepted criteria for leaving home, as per the French government's must-carry attestation.

Foreign travel is heavily restricted, with voyages outside the Schengen zone suspended.

Britons can still head back to the UK and those with cartes de séjour should be able to return to France, though this has not been officially confirmed.

The British Embassy warned Britons that they need to carry an attestation for their trip and should add wording such as “Je rentre au Royaume-Uni en voiture/par avion (aéroport de…)/par train”.

Public transport services have been maintained but with reduced cover as many run virtually empty. Paris Métro still operates 80% of services but RATP services are being cut by half with 80% fewer passengers.

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