The airline that runs Aer Lingus Regional services is to cut flights across its network in the face of the “staggering” impact of coronavirus.

Stobart Air is to operate a “significantly reduced” schedule with all international routes between the UK and Ireland suspended from March 28.

International flights between March 25-28 will initially be trimmed to limited services from Dublin to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The airline plans to continue operating public service obligation (PSO) routes from Dublin to Kerry and Donegal to maintain domestic connectivity in Ireland.

However, staff are being laid off, asked to take unpaid leave or work reduced  hours to cut costs.

Stobart Air said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the demand for airline services decrease at unprecedented levels. Its rapid impact across the global aviation industry has been staggering.

“Against this backdrop, Stobart Air has today taken the decision to operate a significantly reduced schedule this week and temporarily suspend all international flight operations with effect from Saturday until further notice.

“All scheduled international services will continue to operate up to 23.59 on Tuesday to ensure passengers have an opportunity to complete trips or make necessary travel arrangements.” 

The carrier added: “We have been engaging with our staff, their representatives and wider suppliers over recent days as we explored difficult but necessary measures to retain jobs such as voluntary unpaid leave and reduced working hours while reducing the cost base.

“Now, given the decision to suspend international services, temporary lay-offs will be required.

“Consultation with staff and employee representative groups to make the difficult but necessary arrangements are underway. 

“These measures are being implemented to protect the business against the current commercial reality and position us for the future.

 “We remain committed to the resumption of services once the Covid-19 pandemic has ended.”

Affected travellers can apply for a voucher for the full value of their travel, including taxes and charges, plus an additional 10%.