British Airways suspends flights

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British Airways has temporarily suspended flights from Gatwick Airport
British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from London’s Gatwick Airport amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has said it will continue to carry out essential functions such as maintenance, towing and cleaning in order to be ready to start up again effectively.

British Airways added in a statement: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.

“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”

Gatwick Airport in West Sussex is Britain’s second busiest airport.

Just 33 flights were due to take off or land from there on Tuesday, according to aviation data provider FlightStats.

Gatwick’s runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm from Wednesday.

The airport will also close one of its two terminals.

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The measures will be in place for a minimum of one month.

British Airways’ boss warned earlier in March that the airline was in a battle for survival and would have to cut jobs and park planes.

The carrier continues to operate some flights from its main hub at Heathrow.

Parent company IAG said flying capacity would be down 75% in April and May.

Airports are responding to the decision by airlines to suspend the majority of their flights due to plummeting demand.

Countries around the world are introducing travel restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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London City Airport closed its runway to all commercial and private flights last week.

Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4.30pm and 9.30pm.

The British Airways move comes as the prime minister is facing pressure to get more personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers.

It has been claimed some nurses have been treating coronavirus patients without any protection at all.

The prime minister will chair a meeting of his cabinet by videolink on Tuesday as he continues to self-isolate in Downing Street after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

•Sky