Despite President Trump’s travel ban from most of Europe in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Norwegian Air will continue to fly passengers from London Gatwick to the U.S., the airline said Thursday.
However, many of the airline’s other long-haul and short-haul flights will be canceled, according to a press release from the company.
Norwegian Air also warned it could temporarily lay off up to 50 percent -- or more -- of its employees.
The airline said 40 percent of its long-haul flights would be grounded.
That includes “the majority” of flights to the U.S. from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris between March 13 and March 29 and all flights from those cities -- as well as Athens -- would be canceled from March 29 to the end of April.
All Norwegian Air flights from Rome to the U.S. will be canceled until the end of May.
However, the company plans to continue flying passengers to the U.S. from London Gatwick.
“Norwegian operates 11 routes between the U.S. and London Gatwick,” the release said. “Our goal is to reroute as many of our customers as possible through London during this difficult period.”
The airline has also canceled “a large share” of its flights in Norway and Scandinavia and all its flights to Italy.
“This is an unprecedented situation and our main priority continues to be the care and safety of our customers and colleagues,” Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian, said in a statement.
“The new restrictions imposed further pressure on an already difficult situation," he added. "We urge international governments to act now to ensure that the aviation industry can protect jobs and continue to be a vital part of the global economic recovery.”
Aside from canceling flights, Norwegian Air warned it could temporarily lay off up to 50 percent of its staff in all departments.
“Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the Coronavirus, and thus a dramatic drop in customers and subsequent production decline, Norwegian must look at all possible measures to reduce costs,” the press release said. “This unfortunately also includes temporary layoffs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase.”
“All departments will be affected by the temporary layoffs,” the release added. “Norwegian has initiated, in consultation with the unions, a discussion and mapping process and will then return with leave notices to affected departments, stations and employees.”
On Wednesday night, Trump decided to impose a 30-day travel ban on most Europeans entering the United States, starting at midnight on Friday.
The ban won’t apply to Americans returning home or citizens of the U.K., though they will be subject to “enhanced” health screening.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.