Ryanair and Aer Lingus have suspended all flights to Italy as the European Commission warned that the situation for the EU's aviation industry is "deteriorating on a daily basis".
Ryanair said yesterday that it was suspending all flights to and from Italy this week as the country remains in lockdown, while Aer Lingus has halted flights to Italy until April 3.
Ryanair will suspend domestic flights in Italy from midnight tonight and its international Italian flights from midnight on Friday.
It is planned that, at this stage, the suspension will last until April 8.
The airline said that passengers seeking repatriation can obtain a free move to an earlier Ryanair flight operating up until midnight on Friday.
"Affected passengers will be able to choose between a full refund or a travel credit that can be redeemed on Ryanair flights in the next 12 months," it added.
The European Commission said it intends to relieve pressure on the airline industry, and particularly smaller carriers, by temporarily suspending obligations they have to maintain prized take-off and landing slots at what are normally congested airports, such as London's Heathrow.
"Without such a measure, airlines would have to continue to operate flights, even if largely empty, to guarantee their current slots at EU airports, with a negative impact - both economic and environmental," said the Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.