SINGAPORE - Budget carrier Scoot has grounded most of its flights for now amid the escalating coronavirus pandemic.
Flights to more than 50 destinations have been suspended in view of the tight travel restrictions being imposed by many countries, the airline said in a notice on its website on Friday (March 20).
Some routes to Malaysia are on hold until end-March, when a partial lockdown there is scheduled to end. But most of the suspensions will last till mid-April at least.
Meanwhile, its two European routes to Berlin and Athens will be suspended till end-May.
All affected customers will be notified progressively and will receive a Scoot travel voucher on the unused portion of their itinerary within 30 business days.
The Straits Times has contacted Scoot for more information on the flight suspensions.
According to its website, Scoot flies to more than 60 destinations, including Singapore.
It said that beyond the suspended routes, it is also making frequency adjustments on other routes and will notify affected customers directly.
"Scoot is continuing to monitor the situation and will make adjustments to our network as necessary," it added.
Airlines worldwide have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to demand for air travel plunging. This has been compounded by the growing number of travel restrictions imposed by countries worldwide.
The International Air Transport Association has said that airlines stand to lose as much as US$113 billion (S$163 billion) in revenue this year due to the pandemic.
Various countries worldwide have already shut their borders or introduced tougher border controls. Singapore also tightened its borders on Sunday, and will bar entry and transit to all short-term visitors from 11.59pm on Monday.
Transport economist Walter Theseira said the latest restriction might not be have much further impact for airlines such as Scoot and Singapore Airlines, given that demand for air travel is already almost non-existent.
Prof Theseira said: "The steady diet of news about Covid-19 spreading, border restrictions, and such has greatly dampened demand.
"So regardless of our border restrictions, demand for discretionary travel has collapsed globally."