Latest Coronavirus Update: Qantas grounds planes, Norwegian Air cancels  3,000 flights

Qantas announced it was grounding most of its Airbus A380 fleet and its CEO would forgo his salary as the airline slashed international flights in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

The Australian flag carrier and its budget offshoot Jetstar will cut international flights by nearly 25% for the next six months, with routes to Asia and the United States suffering the deepest cuts.

Qantas said it would ground eight of its 10 double-decker Airbus A380s currently in operation as the airline replaces the largest aircraft in its fleet with smaller planes and reduces the frequency of flights.

"In the past fortnight we've seen a sharp drop in bookings on our international network as the global coronavirus spread continues," CEO Alan Joyce said.

"We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we're cutting capacity out to mid-September."

Joyce -- Australia's highest-paid CEO who received 24 million Australian dollars ($15 million) in the 2018 financial year -- will forgo his salary for the rest of the financial year. Other Qantas executives will take a 30% pay cut, while management will not receive any bonuses.

Even the low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said it would cancel "approximately 3,000 flights" mid-March to mid-June representing 15% of the airline's capacity for the period as the coronavirus outbreak hits travel.

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Free Press Journal