Brussels Airlines has become the latest carrier to shut down services in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, suspending all scheduled flights for a month.
It says the services will be gradually wound down and then halted on 21 March and will not restart until 20 April.
“We need to take the decision to temporarily cease our operations,” says chief executive Dieter Vranckx. “It will allow us to reduce the negative financial impact on our company.”
Brussels Airlines says it “fully understands” the travel measures imposed by the Belgian authorities and other governments.
It adds that it will retain a “minimal” standby capacity ready to serve any demand for repatriation flights.
The airline’s workforce has already been temporarily cut by 30% and this will increase to almost 100% at the point of complete flight suspension.
“Some exceptions to the full temporary unemployment will be made to cover the repatriation flights and the restart of the operations,” says the carrier.
Brussels Airlines has engaged in discussions with the government regarding support to the carrier, given the impact on its business.