LOT Polish Airlines is temporarily suspending all of its flight operations, after Poland announced to close its borders and halt international travel amid the Coronavirus crisis.
The country’s decision is effectively shutting down all international travel, including trains and flights, starting on Sunday, and lasting until at least March 28.
LOT confirmed on Friday evening, that, effective Sunday, all its connections will be suspended until March 28 inclusive. This includes its operations in Hungary. It is therefore becoming the first larger airline to not just reduce services, but to cancel all flights for a period of time due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and resulting travel restrictions. LOT later warned that it is unable to answer all calls reaching its customer service department at the moment, and advises passengers who were not due to fly in the coming week to contact the airline over the next few days.
The Polish flag-carrier has hubs in Warsaw, Poland, and Budapest, Hungary and offers long-haul flights from both cities. It operates a fleet of 70 aircraft and was recently in the news after its parent acquired German leisure carrier Condor, which was previously part of now-defunct Thomas Cook Group.
Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has forced most airlines around the world into a major crisis. Both because of significantly dropped demand, and government restrictions on international travel. This weekend, a new directive from the United States comes into effect, banning all non-US nationals who have traveled to Europe’s ‘Schengen zone’ from entering the country for 30 days. Many American and European airlines have cancelled countless transatlantic flights.
On Monday, Czech Airlines and Smartwings will temporarily suspend all services to and from the Czech Republic, a neighboring country of Poland, following a similar travel ban.
Update: On Saturday afternoon, low-cost carrier Ryanair and its subsidiaries also announced that it has cancelled all Poland flights.
Ryanair Group has cancelled all flights to and from Poland, starting Sunday and lasting until March 31.
— International Flight Network (@FlightIntl) March 14, 2020
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Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.