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British Airways Boeing 747-400 on short final in Los Angeles (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

Airlines Continue to Cancel China Flights

Following a change in advice from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus, British Airways has canceled all flights to China.

The Foreign Office warned against all but essential travel to the country which resulted in BA suspending the daily flights from London to Beijing (PKX) and Shanghai (PVG). Government advice has changed following the recent events in Wuhan where authorities are attempting to contain the outbreak and reduce the risk of spreading further.

“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday. “Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com.”

Hong Kong is currently excluded from the updated travel warning and so the airline will continue to operate its’ two daily flights to the Special Administrative Region using an Airbus A380 and a Boeing 777. Cancelations are in effect until January 31, but according to the BA website, any attempt to book flights to mainland China up to March 1 are not being accepted.

The U.K. government is making plans to evacuate hundreds of British nationals that are stuck in the Hubei province. According to the government Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, anyone who will return will be quarantined for up to two weeks upon arrival to the United Kingdom.

“Public safety is the top priority. Anyone who returns from Wuhan will be safely isolated for 14 days, with all necessary medical attention,” Mr. Hancock said.

Other airlines around the world are starting to follow suit. German flag carrier Lufthansa has also canceled all its flights to the country. Air Canada has canceled a number of the 33 weekly flights it operates with flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai affected.

United Airlines has seen a significant drop in demand for flights between the United States and China, resulting in the decision to cancel a certain number of flights. On Tuesday United said the fall in numbers has forced the airline to suspend flights from February 1 through February 8.

American Airlines has also announced it is canceling flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Beijing beginning from February 9 until March 27.

The government of Hong Kong has said that all four local airlines will start to reduce the number of weekly flights between the city and 24 Chinese destinations from 480 down to 240 per week until further notice.

Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines are currently not suspending flights but will subjet their crew and passengers to further checks prior to departure. Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM are continuing to operate flights but are closely monitoring the situation.

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