Virus Crisis To Force Austrian, Porter To Suspend All Service

 - March 18, 2020, 11:46 AM
An Austrian Airlines Airbus A320 takes off from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on May 18, 2017. (Photo: Flickr: Creative Commons (BY-ND) by Frans Berkelaar)

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Austrian Airlines and Canada’s Porter Airlines will each suspend all flight operations this week due to Covid-19-related entry bans and the rapid decline in air travel, the airlines announced Wednesday. Austrian’s suspension starts Wednesday and Porter’s begins on Friday. Initially, Austrian will cancel all flights scheduled until March 28, while Porter doesn’t plan to resume service until June 1.

Austrian’s last flight—OS 066—departs from Chicago and lands in Vienna on Thursday in the morning hours. The airline said it will try to rebook passengers on other airlines but that stranded passengers should contact the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs. Austrian said will not conduct evacuation flights.

Porter, meanwhile, said it intends to operate “a schedule” through Friday to ensure all its customers can either complete their trips or make last-minute alternative travel arrangements.

“The speed of developments related to Covid-19 is shocking. It is having an unprecedented impact around the globe on businesses, economies, and people,” said Porter CEO Michael Deluce. “Porter supports the efforts of the Canadian, U.S., and global authorities in their responses. Government actions make it apparent that restricting activities by people in all communities is what’s required to keep everyone healthy, and ultimately to end this fast-spreading pandemic.”

The moves by Austrian and Porter follow an announcement by Ryanair that it would ground more than 80 percent of its flights on Wednesday. The Irish LCC said that as of Tuesday, March 24, it would ground “most if not all of its flights” except for a small number of flights to preserve “essential connectivity,” primarily between the UK and Ireland.