Rome airports announce closings and Italy becomes outcast of coronavirus


ROME, Mar 12 (Reuters) – Rome’s main airport will close one of its two terminals, while the city’s second airport will be closed to passenger traffic, representatives said Thursday, after thousands of flights were canceled due to the coronavirus.

Italian authorities are also considering closing the Linate airport in Milan, which is currently used for domestic flights, as well as an unspecified number of regional airports to try to stop the spread, a government source said.

Roma Fiumicino will close its main terminal on March 17, Aeroporti di Roma said in a statement, while Ciampino airport, used by low-cost airlines, will close on March 14.

Flights in and out of both airports have already slowed, with Fiumicino’s departure board awash with “canceled” signs on Thursday, and its normally full, nearly deserted parking lots.

Italy is the country most affected in Europe by the coronavirus, with 827 deaths and 12,462 confirmed cases. The rapid spread of the disease has persuaded many countries to cut travel connections, while many foreign airlines such as EasyJet and British Airways have closed operations.

National flag carrier Alitalia continues to fly, but the situation was further complicated for these companies and travelers after US President Donald Trump banned travel from continental Europe to the United States.

(Information from Yara Nardi and Gabriele Pileri; additional information from Elisa Anzolin and Giuseppe Fonte; written by Angelo Amante; edited by Crispian Balmer; translated by Michael Susin in the Gdansk newsroom)