Airlines across the globe have suspended all flights to China and modified some other routes in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
American airlines, on Monday morning, extended the suspension of China and Hong Kong flights till April 24, while Austrian airlines extended its cancellations to March and April. British Airways took its suspensions as far as April 17, while Delta Airlines intends to resume flights to and fro China by the end of April.
LOT extended suspensions until March 28, while Lufthansa will not resume China flights until April 24.
Air Seoul, Oman Air and Air Mauritius suspended all flights to and fro China and Hong Kong till further notice, while Air Tanzania has postponed indefinitely the launch of its charter service to China, which was set to begin in February 2020.
JejuAir Co Ltd, Qatar Airways, RwandAir, Scoot (Singapore Airlines), Saudia (Saudi Arabia’s state airline) and Kenya Airways also suspended all China routes indefinitely
Air France cancelled all flights to mainland China till the end of March, as Air India took it a step further, cancelling flights from Mainland China to Shanghai and Hong Kong till June 2020. The UAE suspended flights to most of mainland China, and all flights to Iran and Bahrain
In an unexplained twisted turn of events, Egypt Air resumed some flights to and from China.
The suspension of flights to Hong Kong and Beijing will run till May 2 for the El Al Israel Airlines, while FinnAir cancelled all flights to mainland China flights and some Hong Kong flights until the end of April. Iberia Airlines extended the suspension of flights from Madrid to Shanghai, its only route, until the end of April.
KLM said its ban would include flights to Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen in China till May, while flights to Beijing and Shanghai may resume by March ending. Lion Air suspended all flights to China from February and has waived travel change fees for flights up to April 30. Quantas Airlines’ sole remaining route to mainland China, Syndey-Shanghai, has been suspended and its Hong Kong flights are reduced.
United Airlines suspended its Hong Kong service until April 23, and Vietjet VJC.HM and Vietnam Airlines HVN.HM suspended flights to the mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macau to April 30.
Air Canada has extended the suspension of flights to Beijing and Shanghai until March 27, and its Toronto to Hong Kong flights to March 27, and Air China has said it would cancel flights to Athens, Greece, to March 18 and adjust flights between China and the United States.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways suspended flights to Hong Kong, and Hainan Airlines suspends flights between Budapest, Hungary, and Chongqing both till the end of March.
So far, China is not the only route affected, as several airlines have modified their services on other routes, particularly for destinations that report high cases of the COVID-19.
British Airways has cancelled some flights from London to the United States and roundtrips between London and Singapore, South Korea and Italy – including Milan, Bologna, Venice and Turin from March 14 to March 28.
According to Reuters, Vistara Airlines has reduced flights to and from Bangkok and Singapore; Vietnam Airlines HVN.HM suspended flights to South Korea from March 5; Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways suspended flights between Da Nang and Nha Trang to Seoul Incheon; while Wizz Air would decrease the frequency of its Romania, Poland, Italy and Israel routes, cutting two-thirds of all flights on affected routes over March 11 and April 2.
Why this matters: The cut down in flights is set to affect employed labour as some of the airlines might be reducing their staff number in view of the reduced profitability. Wizz Air has hinted that it could further reduce its staff capacity by another 10% over the next quarter, in addition to the downsizing already done. Some of the airlines like Iberia Airlines, Quantas Airlines have suspended flights to all of their routes, implying that they may also have to downsize soon, till normal flights are resumed.
Ryanair announced on March 2 that it would cut 25% of its Italian capacity for three weeks.
All of these, no doubt, give the international community more to worry about.