Norway may shut down airports as Trump's coronavirus travel ban hits

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Norway may shut down airports as Trump's coronavirus travel ban hits
Avinor expects to close down a runway at Oslo's Gardermoen airport. Photo: AvinorPhoto:

Norway's main airport operator is considering closing one of its runways at Oslo's Gardemoen airport, and shutting down several other airports following the US's dramatic decision to stop incoming flights from Europe.


Avinor chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen told Norway's state broadcaster NRK that the company planned to hold a crisis meeting at 12pm to decide what action to take. 
"Our goal is to be able to continue operations through this scenario. Then it is important to have resources in reserve for when our people get sick. It is important that we take these steps early," he told NRK. "I have been in aviation for many years and have never seen anything similar. This is very special." 
Avinor Chief Executive Dag Falk-Petersen. Photo: Avinor
The news comes as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health on Wednesday evening reported 212 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 489. The VG newspaper, which collates figures from Norway's municipalities, putting it about a day ahead, puts the true number of cases at 631. 
At present SAS and Norwegian are still planning to fly to the US as usual as the US ban only takes effect on Saturday morning US time. 
"We are of course aware of the restrictions that have come from the US, but we will have to come back with more information a little later today. As of now, flights to and from the US are operating normally," Norwegian spokeswoman Astrid Mannion-Gibson told NRK.
The airline, which was facing financial difficulties even before the pandemic began, has canceled 3,000 flights scheduled over the next few months, and has announced layoffs. Its share price fell 20 percent when the Oslo Stock Exchange opened on Thursday morning. 



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