British Airways, United Airlines halt China flights amid coronavirus spread

Significant drop in demand forces United to suspend some flights while BA places blanket ban on services to and from mainland
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British Airways

British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from China’s mainland while United Airlines has temporarily halted services to three cities in the country in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The UK Foreign Office advised citizens of all but essential travel to China while United Airlines said it has seen a “significant decline in demand” on some of its services.

In a statement, United Airlines said: “We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will adjust our schedule as needed.”

The coronavirus outbreak in China has claimed more than 100 lives and has caused travel disruption, with Hong Kong closing its borders.

Hong Kong's flag carrier, Cathay Pacific, also said it would reduce capacity and cut flights to mainland China.

Japan, the US and countries in the EU are repatriating their citizens.

Airports in the UAE have begun screening passengers arriving from China and regulators said they are monitoring the situation.

Saif Al Sowaidi, director general of the UAE’s aviation authority, said on Tuesday that the GCAA’s options include reducing flights but he does not expect a drop in traffic between China and the UAE.

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