UAE authorities ‘prepared to reduce flights’ to prevent China virus spread

GCAA does not expect a reduction in traffic between UAE and China but it is considering various precautionary measures
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Reducing flights may be an option for the UAE’s authorities while considering precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Chinese coronavirus.

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is closely monitoring the spread of a virus in China which has caused concern among global health officials and has so far killed more than 100 people.         

Already Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports have begun thermal screening on passengers arriving on flights from China and cabin crew on various airlines are being denied layovers in areas of China.

It emerged on Wednesday that British Airways suspended its flights to and from the Chinese mainland. United Airlines also suspended flights to three cities in China because of a significant drop in demand. 

Saif Al Sowaidi, director general of the UAE’s aviation authority, told reporters at a conference that if the situation deteriorates then authorities will have “different measures” available.

“That may include reducing the flights if necessary,” he said.

But Mr Al Sowaidi said he does not have major concerns over the outbreak and so far there have been no reported cases of the virus in the UAE.

He said that China is “capable of containing” the situation and does not anticipate a change in passenger traffic between the UAE and China.

The outbreak of the coronavirus has seen Hong Kong shut its borders with China and has caused concern among economists, worried that it could have financial impacts on global markets as fewer people travel.

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