Ryanair says it expects that most if not all flights across the group will be grounded from midnight on March 24.

The only exceptions are likely to be a very small number of flights required to maintain essential connectivity it says.

These will mostly be between the UK and Ireland.

The airline has posted details of the severely reduced schedule on the Travel Advisory page on its website.

Between midnight tonight and March 24th, Ryanair Group will be cutting its schedules by over 80%.

"All affected customers will receive an email to advise them of their options and we kindly ask customers not to call us as our call centres are overloaded dealing with customer queries," the company said in a statement.

The airline says it is taking the steps because of the restrictions being put in place by governments, that are causing huge disruption and which it advises customers they should follow.

Ryanair said it will continue to remain in contact with EU governments and may operate rescue flights to support repatriation.