Trump Europe travel restriction to hit Atlanta airport, Delta hard

As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States and impact the economy, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is cutting flights and making other changes to its operations.

President Donald Trump's tight restrictions on travel from most of Europe to the United States for the next 30 days in response to the coronavirus will have a major impact on Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world's busiest airport.

Delta Air Lines operates many flights to Europe from Atlanta, its largest hub. Other carriers including Air France, KLM and Lufthansa also operate flights between Atlanta and Europe.

Atlanta-based Delta issued a statement late Wednesday saying it “will continue to quickly make adjustments to service, as needed, in response to government travel directives.”

Delta also said it will waive change fees for tickets already issued for travel to, from or through Europe and the U.K. through May 31.

Hartsfield-Jackson is a major source of revenue and jobs for Atlanta and Georgia.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Wednesday that Trump signed a presidential proclamation suspending the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries known as the "Schengen area" in the previous 14 days.

Trump said during a Wednesday night address that the suspension would take effect Friday at midnight, but that it would not apply to the United Kingdom.

Trump also said there will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screening. Homeland Security added that the suspension will not apply to legal permanent residents, immediate family members of U.S. citizens and certain other individuals.

In a tweet later Wednesday, Trump said the Europe restrictions would only apply to people, not goods.

However, passenger planes typically carry goods in their cargo holds.

The U.S. State Department late Wednesday also issued a global Level 3 health advisory telling U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, because of quarantines in some areas and the possibility of travel restrictions in others. It advised travelers to visit travel.state.gov for individual travel advisories.

Delta announced earlier Wednesday that it is reducing service from Atlanta to Brussels, Paris, Munich, Dusseldorf and Madrid. The airline, the biggest by revenue, has already suspended all flights from Italy, including its Atlanta-Rome flight.

The airline also announced reductions on more than a dozen trans-Atlantic routes from other cities.

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