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Jambojet suspends Kigali, Entebbe flights as worsening coronavirus crisis ravages demand

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – Regional carrier Jambojet has suspended flights to Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali and Entebbe, Uganda as coronavirus cases in the region pile up.

The low-cost airline says the move is part of its measures of ensuring safety for its passengers and its employees.

Rwanda confirmed its seventh coronavirus case Wednesday after reporting its first case this past weekend.

“Over the past few weeks there has been a global spread of the Covid-19 which has resulted in a decrease of airline passengers especially on the international routes,” Jambojet said in a statement, adding that all the booked passengers shall get alternative flights.

Jambojet joins other airlines around the world, including its mother company Kenya Airways, in canceling and suspending flights over the viral disease that has left more than 7,000 people dead with more than 181,500 cases in 145 countries.

Kenya Airways has already suspended major international routes, starting with those of high-risk countries, such as Italy, China and India, among others.

On Monday, major airlines around the world announced further deep cuts to service as the worsening coronavirus crisis ravages demand.

White House officials have highlighted airlines as a major concern and signaled broad support for a federal plan to fortify the industry.

“We have to back the airlines,” US President Donald Trump said at a briefing. “It’s not their fault. In fact, they were having a record season.”

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Earlier, European carriers announced additional cutbacks in service due to the crisis.

IAG, owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, announced it would slash flight capacity by 75 percent during April and May owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, while Germany’s Lufthansa said it would trim seating capacity on long-haul flights by up to 90 percent, affecting mainly routes to Africa, the Middle East and South America.

Britain’s Virgin Atlantic added that it has decided to park 75 percent of its total fleet, and in April this will rise as high as 85 percent.

Virgin has reportedly called upon the UK government to inject emergency support totaling 7.5 billion pounds ($9.2 billion, 8.3 billion euros) to help keep Britain’s aviation industry flying.

 

Additional reporting by AFP.

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