Air Canada is suspending flights to and from Italy, saying the decision was prompted by Italian regulations and “ongoing health and safety concerns” related to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus.
The airline’s last flight to Rome is scheduled to take off from Toronto Tuesday, with the final return flight departing Rome for Montreal on Wednesday.
Air Canada says it to restart service May 1.
“We continue to monitor this situation and evaluate conditions prior to resuming service,” said an Air Canada spokesperson.
Meanwhile, it says affected customers will be notified and offered full refunds.
#BREAKING – Air Canada is canceling flights to Italy. The last scheduled trip between Toronto and Rome will depart today and return tomorrow. Air Canada tells me affected customers will be notified and offered travel options, including a full refund.
— Richard Southern (@richard680news) March 10, 2020
Air Canada does not have any direct flights from YVR to Italy. Air Canada’s current service to Italy consists of once-daily flights from Canada to Rome and on alternate days from Toronto and Montreal.
In January, Canada’s largest airline halted all direct flights to China — the epicentre of the virus — as it braced for a hit to revenues.
The airline’s shares have fallen about 40 per cent in the past seven weeks.
The COVID-19 has spelled difficulty for global airlines as companies suspend non-essential business travel and conventions and other events are cancelled amid increasing travel restrictions from governments.