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Finnair cancels Rome flights, relaxes flight change terms

The airline said it was following a travel advisory from the Finnish foreign ministry.

Flight schedule screen at Helsinki Airport. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

National airline Finnair has announced it is cancelling all of its flights to Rome, Italy from 12 March - 7 April, due to a travel advisory issued by the Finnish foreign ministry concerning the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Finnair also announced on Monday it was relaxing its policy (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on making flight reservation changes. The airline said it would allow ticketed customers to change their travel dates without paying fees until 30 November if the bookings are made by 30 April at the latest, if there are available seats and other criteria.

However, the airline said the temporary ticket change policy does not apply to passengers who made reservations through tour operators like Finnair Holidays, Aurinkomatkat and others.

Milan flights cancelled

Last week, Finnair announced it was cancelling all flights between Helsinki and Milan, Italy from 9 March - 7 April. The firm also said it was preparing to temporarily lay off its entire staff based in Finland.

Several other international airlines have reportedly cancelled or suspended some flights to Italy in recent days, including SAS, Norwegian and Lufthansa.

In a travel advisory issued on Sunday, the Finnish foreign ministry said individuals should avoid making unnecessary trips to Italy, saying that the risk of infection had increased in the Italian regions of Veneto, Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Marche. Authorities in Italy have introduced travel restrictions within those areas, as well, according to the Finnish ministry.

In an effort to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, Italy has also rolled out travel restrictions from 8 March - 3 April across many regions and cities.