Flights To Spain Make U-Turns Over Coronavirus Fears

Flights heading to Spain from the United Kingdom made U-turns over France, returning to their departing airports. This was due to coronavirus fears and precautions. The flights had many British holidaymakers heading south for some Spanish sun. However, they were in for a surprise yesterday when seven Jet2 planes suddenly decided to turn around and head home.

A number of Jet2 planes performed U-turns after Spain declares coronavirus emergency. Photo: Ian Gratton via Flickr

The aircraft, all on route to either Alicante (ALC) or Malaga (AGP), were told to return to their home airports. This was in direct response to Spain declaring a two-week state of emergency to help combat the coronavirus epidemic.

Spain now the second worst-hit country in Europe

Following Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s decision to close down all but essential services, the Valencian Community (of which Alicante province is a part) imposed its own strict guidelines.

Starting at midnight on Friday, March 13th, all hotels, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs were forced to close as people were told to stay home in a bid to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

With 191 deaths and 6,300 confirmed cases, Spain is now the second worst-hit country in Europe after Italy. Spain is aggressively tackling the virus head-on regardless of what short-term effect it may have on the Spanish economy.

In a country that relies on tourism for 12% of its GDP, Spain has imposed these tough measures even though it will have a huge impact on tourism.

Jet2 cancels all flights to Spain

British low-cost carrier Jet2, realizing that they were flying passengers into what would in effect be ghost town resorts on lockdown, made a prudent decision to turn its aircraft around mid-flight and head home.

All bars, restaurants and clubs in Spain are closed. Photo: Craig Sunter Wikipedia Commons

In a statement released by the Leeds Bradford Airport-based airline, carried by the London Evening Standard, Jet2 said:

“In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops, and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to suspend all flights for at least the next seven days to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect.

“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision.

We are contacting our customers who are currently in these destinations, and who are due to travel, to advise them of their options, so we urge customers not to call us.

 This is a fast-moving and complex situation and we are reviewing our program as a matter of urgency so that we can fly customers back to the UK.

The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding.”

Spain on lockdown

In other related news, all easyJet and Ryanair flights to Spain from the United Kingdom continue to operate as normal, but we would advise travelers to monitor the situation closely as this could change at any time.

On a personal note and as someone who is living in Spain, I can confirm that the government is taking the situation very seriously and has instructed the police to crack down on any businesses that break the emergency rules.

Flights To Spain Make U-Turns Over Coronavirus Fears
easyJet and Ryanair are still flying to Spain. Photo: Adrian Pingstone Wikipedia Commons

As a tourist, there would be absolutely no reason to come to Spain for at least the next two weeks as the streets are empty and all leisure activities have been canceled.

What do you think about the decision made by Jet2? Are they doing the right thing canceling flights? Please let us know in the comments.