Virus closes Belgium's Charleroi airport for two weeks

Belgium's Charleroi airport announced Friday that it will close to commercial flights for at least two weeks because of travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The airport, the country's second busiest and the main continental European hub for budget airline Ryanair, said it would halt operations on Tuesday night until April 5 at the earliest.

"Since the end of February the number of 'no shows'—passengers not turning up for flights—has not stopped growing," the airport said in a statement in French.

"From an initial average of 20 percent, the proportion of absences has grown to nearly 90 percent today."

Brussels South Charleroi airport, as it is officially known—despite lying some 40 km (25 miles) south of the Belgian capital—serves 8.2 million passengers a year.

Travel restrictions imposed by governments to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have seen airlines slash services as numbers plummet.

Ryanair has said it will cancel "most if not all" of its flights from Tuesday.

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© 2020 AFP

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