German airline group Lufthansa said Monday it was extending flight cancellations on Iran and China routes until late April, part of a broader rollback because of the novel coronavirus. The group's namesake carrier and subsidiaries Austrian and Swiss will not fly to and from mainland China until April 24, Lufthansa said in a statement. Meanwhile, Tehran flights will be suspended until April 30. The slashes to the flight plan are part of a wider scheme Lufthansa announced Friday that will ground 23 long-haul aircraft and cut short- and medium-haul services by up to 25 per cent.
Lufthansa said Monday it was reducing the frequency of flights between major German hubs like Frankfurt and Munich and Seoul and Hong Kong. And the group is also reducing frequency on routes to cities in Italy, including Rome, Venice, and Milan, with subsidiary Brussels Airlines, affected alongside low-cost carrier Eurowings, Austrian and Swiss. In northern Italy, 11 towns have been placed under quarantine because of the virus outbreak.
Even within Germany, the group is slashing flight frequency on domestic routes between major cities. Lufthansa said passengers whose flights were affected by the timetable changes should check the company website for updates. The group has also suspended new hires as part of its measures to cushion the business impact of the virus, which it said Monday was "not yet possible to estimate".
The International Civil Aviation Organization has said that the virus outbreak could mean a USD 4-5 billion drop in worldwide airline revenue. Meanwhile, on Monday the global death toll from the coronavirus epidemic passed 3,000 as dozens of more patients succumbed in China. More than 89,000 people have now been infected around the world.