SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian airline Azul (AZUL.N) said on Monday that it will cut all of its international flights out of its main hub in Sao Paulo state later on Monday because of the coronavirus outbreak, significantly increasing its cancellations.
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Brazil’s Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras S/A, that cut flights to Portugal and Florida due to coronavirus, is pictured at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Rahel Patrasso
Latin American airlines, including Azul, had announced last week they would cut no more than 30% of their flights.
Shares in Azul were down almost 20% on the news in Sao Paulo.
The continent’s largest carrier, LATAM Airlines Group (LTM.SN), said on Monday that it reiterated its guidance from last week.
“We will maintain the flexibility to take additional measures, if necessary, due to the speed at which events are unfolding,” the company said in a statement.
LATAM shares in Santiago were falling almost 16%.
Other carriers have also been canceling flights to Latin America. American Airlines (AAL.O) said over the weekend it would cut all of its flights to Brazil and to much of the rest of South America.
The speed of cancellations accelerated from what airlines said they expected last week. Azul had said that it would focus its cancellations outside of its Sao Paulo hub and instead work to keep those flights in place, only to then cancel all Sao Paulo international flights on Monday.
It was unclear what, if any, international flights Azul will keep operating. Azul flies mainly to the United States and to Portugal.
The airline added it would cut up to 50% of its capacity by next month and adopt measures to cut costs. One of them is the 25% reduction in salaries of its executives, significantly lower than cuts taken by airline executives in the United States.
Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (GOLL4.SA) has not made specific announcements yet, but it only operates international flights within Latin America.
Shares in Gol were down 20% on Monday.
Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Additional reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Grant McCool