Seven airlines have already cancelled 278 flights from Italy and other markets because of coronavirus, the CEO of Malta Airport, Alan Borg said on Monday.

 “The Covid-19 outbreak is putting aviation and tourism stakeholders across the globe to the test as passenger demand for air travel plummets and airlines cut capacity across the board,” Mr Borg said.

“The last week of February at Malta International Airport gave us but a small taste of what lies ahead; we are now bracing ourselves for two challenging months. To date, seven airlines have already cancelled 278 flights from Italy and other markets,” he said. 

Air Malta and Ryanair have announced the immediate cancellation of flights from Milan, Treviso and Bergamo in Italy.  A spokesperson for MIA, when contacted, said the company could not immediately disclose which other airlines have cancelled flights.

Mr Borg made his comments as MIA announced its performance figures for February.  

During the month, the airport saw 421,567 passenger movements, 17.3 per cent up over February last year. The 29th provided for an additional day of operations, boosting the month’s total traffic with 16,986 passenger movements.

The top drivers of traffic for the month were the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Spain, with all markets, except for Germany (-5.0 per cent), registering varying levels of growth. 

But as concern about coronavirus grew, seat load factor (SLF), particularly on Italian routes, started to suffer, with significant drops being registered in the last week of the month

Mr Borg said the company’s focus is on the safety and wellbeing of its users, employees and the public.

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