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Emirates suspends France, Germany, Nigeria and some U.S. flights

Passengers are seen at the Emirates airline check-in queue to leave Nigeria ahead of the travel ban deadline by the government aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Murtala Mohammed International airport in Lagos

DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates, one of the world's biggest international airlines, is suspending all flights to France, Germany, Nigeria, New York and New Jersey due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to internal emails seen by Reuters.

The state-owned airline has already suspended dozens of routes, crucial to its Dubai hub that is dependent on millions of passengers passing through each year.

Flights to France, Germany and Nigeria would be suspended from March 23, until further notice, a company email said.

Emirates operates services to France's Paris, Lyon and Nice, Germany's Frankfurt, Munich, Duesseldorf and Hamburg, and Nigeria's Abuja and Lagos.

Flights to New York JFK and New Jersey's Newark EWR would be suspended from March 24 until further notice, another company email said.

Emirates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The airline said in the emails it was suspending the flights because of measures and restrictions imposed to control the spread of the deadly virus.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said on Saturday it was suspending flights to Pakistan's Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore from March 21, Belgium's Brussels from March 22 and Switzerland's Zurich from March 24.

Governments around the world have imposed tight entry requirements and in some instances suspended flights.

The United Arab Emirates, which has reported 140 cases of the virus, including two deaths, has temporarily banned all foreigners from entering the country, including residents.

Middle East airlines are facing a liquidity crisis, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region at risk because of the virus epidemic that has shattered global travel demand, the industry's largest body warned on Thursday.


(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, editing by Louise Heavens and Ed Osmond)