Austrian Airlines has been forced to cancel Vienna flights from a series of European cities after the country expanded its list of Covid-19 travel bans.

No regular flights from a group of nine countries will be permitted from tomorrow (Thursday) while landing bans for aircraft from the UK, Sweden and Ukraine have been extended until July 31.

The carrier is cancelling flights between Vienna and Belgrade, Bucharest, Cairo, Kyiv, London, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Sibiu, Skopje, Sofia, Stockholm, Tirana and Varna.

It has had to react after the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection expanded the list of landing bans for aircraft.

Affected passengers can rebook until the end of 2021 or apply for a refund.

Austrian Airlines chief commercial officer Andreas Otto said: “Of course, we understand that health is a top priority in the current situation. It remains a common goal to contain the pandemic.

“However, cross-the-board travel bans for entire countries – with extremely short notice – are an enormous challenge for us and our guests.

“We advocate a uniform and stable travel policy within the EU so as not to weaken Vienna’s position as a flight hub in the long term.

“Business travellers and other transfer passengers will otherwise find alternative ways of getting to long-haul destinations.

“Together with the authorities and the airport, we want and must find a solution for transfer traffic in order to prevent uncontrolled entry as fast as possible.”