Delta, the dominant airline in the Twin Cities, said Sunday it will suspend service between the U.S. and Milan in Italy for the next two months in response to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.
In making the announcement, Atlanta-based Delta said "it remains in constant contact with the foremost communicable disease experts" with the federal Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization and local officials "to respond to the coronavirus as well as ensure training, policies, procedures and cabin cleaning and disinfection measures meet and exceed guidelines."
The service disruption involves flights connecting John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and Milan Malpensa Airport. The last eastbound flight will be on Monday, with the final westbound flight taking off on Tuesday.
Delta said it intends to resume the service in each direction on May 1 and May 2, however, "the airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve."
In an earlier response to the virus in Italy, Delta extended the travel waiver for flights to three cities — Milan, Venice and Bologna — as the outbreak spreads rapidly there. The move reflected its partnership with Air France, which offers Delta passengers connecting service throughout Europe.
Last week, Delta said suspended nonstop flights connecting the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) to Seoul for two months as global air travel continues to slow with the spread of the coronavirus.
The last flight before suspension departed MSP for Seoul's Incheon International Airport was Friday, with the last return flight leaving Saturday from Seoul for the Twin Cities.
In late January, the airline suspended through April all its flights to Beijing and Shanghai.