The Austrian government has banned all scheduled passenger flights to and from 18 mostly European countries, forcing Austrian Airlines (OS, Vienna) to cancel at a short notice 15 routes from Vienna with possible further effects caused by the lack of transfer feed.

The ban, issued on July 14 and effective from July 16 at midnight through the end of the month, bans all arrivals into Austria from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Egypt, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. Previous bans covering Belarus, China, Iran, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom have been extended. However, the government has removed Lombardy in Italy from the list.

The extension of the ban forced Austrian Airlines to announce the suspension (or the deferral of restart) of its routes from Vienna to Belgrade, Bucharest Otopeni, Cairo Int'l, Kyiv Boryspil, London Heathrow, Podgorica, Pristina, Sarajevo, Sofia, Sibiu, Skopje, Stockholm Arlanda, Tirana, and Varna.

"We understand that health is a top priority in the current situation. 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 travelers and other transfer passengers will otherwise find alternative ways of getting to long-haul destinations," Chief Commercial Officer Andreas Otto said.

The airline said that the reduced transfer feed from the suspended destinations could result in a further impact to its network, particularly to the long-haul flights. Austrian Airlines currently operates to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Chicago O'Hare, New York Newark, and Washington Dulles.

Repatriation and migrant workers charters, as well as cargo flights are exempted from the ban.