EasyJet has confirmed that the majority of its network will be shut down from Tuesday.

The UK budget carrier is grounding its fleet of more than 330 aircraft due to accelerating numbers of coronavirus travel restrictions across Europe.

The airline will run rescue flights to repatriate passengers where it can.

A minimal schedule of “essential flights” will operate on some routes, mainly out of London, according to easyJet.

The action to stop flights reflects a move by rival Ryanair to ground “most if not all” flights from midnight on Tuesday.

EasyJet said in a posting on its website on Friday night: “Following the number of government restrictions and travel advice across our network, we will be grounding the majority of our aircraft from Tuesday 24 March onwards.

“Although we know this may be disappointing for some customers, we hope that by announcing this now, it will provide more notice and certainty for you all.

“Customers will be contacted directly if their flight is disrupted with the options available to them. Where flights are cancelled – and where local authorities allow – we will operate rescue flights to repatriate customers.”

EasyJet added: “We know that customers with a booking in the coming weeks may be unsure about travelling at the moment, so they can re-book to another flight later in the year without paying any change fees.

“We’ve also launched our winter schedule earlier than usual, so that there are now millions more choices of when and where to go.

“If you booked through a tour operator, travel agent or OTA, you will need to contact them directly. Worldwide customers affected should contact Dohop.”