//Norwegian Air cancels flights and lays off staff

Norwegian Air cancels flights and lays off staff

Norwegian will cancel 4,000 flights and temporarily lay off about 50 cent its employees, the company has announced.

“This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues. The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation,” said Norwegian chief executive Jacob Schram.

“We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery.”

The news comes after Donald Trump announced that the US will temporarily suspend most travel from the European Union amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Norwegian will cancel long-haul flights to the US from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris from tomorrow until the end of May.

The US restrictions, which begin on Friday and last 30 days, do not apply to US citizens or travellers from the UK. The restrictions apply to most foreign nationals who have been in the 26 countries of the Schengen area 14 days before their planned arrival in the US.

Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, described the ban as “ill-considered and ignorant” given coronavirus is “already widely present in the US”.

“The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement.