Airlines halt, reduce China flights due to coronavirus threat

PARIS, France – 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. (READ: China confirms 5,974 virus cases, exceeding nation's SARS total)

Here is a list of airlines that have announced changes:

Air France

Air France suspended its 3 weekly flights to Wuhan on January 24, but as of Wednesday morning, January 29, said it was maintaining its 23 weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

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 advice from the government against all but essential travel to China.

Cathay Pacific

The Hong Kong-based carrier said Tuesday, January 28, it would progressively reduce capacity by 50% 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.

United Airlines

US carrier United Airlines said Tuesday it will trim its service 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. – Rappler.com