Several Spanish-bound planes turned back mid-air, data from Flightradar24 shows, with Madrid set to announce a coronavirus lockdown.
It showed at least seven planes operated by British budget airline Jet2 turning back when over France, with one getting as far as the Spanish-French border.
Jet2 said it decided to cancel the flights as Spanish authorities moved to introduce tighter restrictions.
“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays which is why we have taken this decision,” it said in a statement.
On its Twitter account, Jet2 said the measure was in response to the closure of shops, restaurants and cancellation of activities in Spain.
That is why the company cancelled all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands "with immediate effect".
Spain to declare a state of emergency today
Spain’s government is set to announce on Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movement and closing restaurants and other establishments in the nation of 46 million people as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
The Associated Press has access to the draft of the battery of measures that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will announce in a nationally televised address.
According to the draft of the government order, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to medical centres and banks, or take trips related to the care for the young and the elderly. Those limitations will take effect on Monday at 8 am