Airlines halt, reduce China flights over Corona virus

Wednesday January 29 2020

British Airways is one of the airlines that have suspended all their flights to and from China owing to the deadly coronavirus. AFP/FILE

A number of airlines say they are halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours, while several countries have urged their citizens to avoid travel to China if possible.

The coronavirus epidemic has killed 132 people, infected nearly 6,000, and spread to some 15 countries.

Airlines that have announced changes:

- Air France -
Air France suspended its three weekly flights to Wuhan on January 24, but as of Wednesday morning said it was maintaining its 23 weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

- Air KBZ -
This Myanmar-based airline has confirmed it will halt flights to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou from February 1.


- British Airways -
British Airways said it had suspended all its flights to and from mainland China. The airline flies daily from London's Heathrow airport to Shanghai and Beijing.

The airline said it had taken the move following government advice against all but essential travel to China.

- Cathay Pacific -
The Hong Kong-based carrier said Tuesday it would progressively reduce capacity by 50 percent or more on its routes to mainland China from Thursday through to the end of March.

The reduction concerns both Cathay Pacific and its Cathay Dragon subsidiary.

- Finnair -
Finnair, which offers many connections between Europe and Asia, said Tuesday that the suspension of group travel from China was leading it to suspend some flights beginning February 5 through most of March.

For the moment it will continue daily flights to Beijing and Shanghai, two daily flights to Hong Kong, and two flights a week to Guangzhou.

- Lion Air -
Indonesia's Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia's biggest carrier by fleet size, is halting all its flights to and from China owing to the deadly coronavirus, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The suspension, which affects routes to 15 different Chinese cities, goes in to effect from February 1 until further notice.

Indonesia attracts more than one million Chinese tourists annually and hosts tens of thousands of guest workers.

- Myanmar Airways International -
MAI has announced a suspension effective from Friday for charter flights to 10 Chinese cities and was allowing passengers booked on its regular service to Guangzhou to change their travel plans without charge.

- Myanmar National Airlines -
MNA has said it will halt flights to Hong Kong and Chengdu from Saturday.

- United Airlines -
US carrier United Airlines said Tuesday it will trim its services to China from the United States in light of a big drop in demand following a call by US health officials to avoid non-essential travel to the country.

United said certain flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning February 1 through February 8 from three US cities were affected.

- Urals Airlines -
Russia's Urals Airlines, which had already suspended flights to several destinations in China, announced on Wednesday it was cutting some services to Europe popular with Chinese tourists, including Paris and Rome, because of the outbreak.

- Kazakhstan -
Kazakhstan says it will halt all transport links with China, beginning with road transport on February 1 and flights from February 3.

Some airlines say that for the moment they are not adjusting their operations to China, including Germany's Lufthansa and SAS.