SINGAPORE - Singapore budget carrier Jetstar Asia will ground its entire fleet of 18 Airbus 320s as the demand for air travel continues to plummet amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
All services will be suspended for an initial period of three weeks, from March 23 to at least April 15, the airline told The Straits Times.
This is a result of new government restrictions across multiple jurisdictions in recent days and subsequent unprecedented falls in travel demand, a spokesman said.
"The decision reflects responses beyond our control including a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community," she added.
Jetstar Asia is containing the impact as much as possible by asking staff to take paid and unpaid leave during this time, in addition to cancelling annual bonuses and the Annual Wage Supplement payment, she further said.
The airline has about 800 employees, including 500 pilots and cabin crew.
Customers impacted by the suspension will be offered a full refund in the form of a travel credit voucher.
The fastest and easiest way for customers to request a voucher is by visiting the Manage My Booking section via the website, the airline said.
Jetstar said customers should not call the contact centre as it is expecting long call wait times due to high demand.
Jetstar Asia is Singapore-owned but part of Australia's Qantas group. Qantas, which owns 49 per cent of the Singapore budget carrier, has announced that it would cut 90 per cent of its international capacity and 60 per cent of its domestic capacity.