Airlines suspend China flights, cut service amid coronavirus scare
British Airways and Asian budget carriers Lion Air and Seoul Air suspended all flights to China as fears spread about the outbreak of a new coronavirus, also known as the corona, that has killed more than 130 people.
Several other airlines including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia reduced the number of flights to the country as demand for travel drops because of the outbreak.
British Airways has suspended bookings on its website for direct flights from London to Beijing and Shanghai until March, after warnings over travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.
BA.com, the airline’s website, shows no direct flights to China are available in January and February. A spokeswoman for the airline said on Wednesday it was “assessing the situation”.
Britain on Tuesday advised against “all but essential” travel to mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak, known by many as the corona.
Lion Air said it has canceled more than 50 flights to China well into February. The flights are from five international airports in Denpasar, Manado, Surabaya, Jakarta, and Batam to 15 airports in China.
Lion Group spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantor said the suspension would be phased in gradually and would continue until further notice.
China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The outbreak has infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.
Air Seoul, a budget airline, became the first South Korean airline to suspend its fights to mainland Chinese destinations that weren’t Wuhan, stopping its flights to the cities of Zhangjiajie and Linyi.
Kazakhstan is suspending all forms of travel to and from neighboring China, the Central Asian nation's government said on Wednesday as an outbreak of a new coronavirus continued to widen.
The government has also suspended the issuance of visas to Chinese citizens, it said in a statement.