American Airlines and British Airways on Wednesday joined several other major international carriers to slash flights to China as the country struggles to deal with an outbreak of coronavirus that prompted quarantines affecting tens of millions of people.
American Airlines said it would temporarily suspend flights between Los Angeles International Airport and Shanghai Pudong Airport and Beijing Capital Airport between Feb. 9 and March 27. It said the cancellations were triggered by a “significant decline in demand for travel to and from China,” a representative said.
“We will continue to review our flight schedules to ensure we can accommodate the needs of our customers and will make updates as needed,” a spokesperson for the airline said in a written statement. American said it would still operate flights from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and from Dallas-Fort Worth to Beijing and Shanghai.
It followed an announcement from British Airways, which said it would suspend all of its flights to China. Those flights will stay grounded until Jan. 31.
“We apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,” the firm said in an a statement on Wednesday to Reuters. “Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com.”
Germany’s Lufthansa announced Wednesday it would suspend all flights to China until Feb. 9. The decision also affects subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian Airlines.
“Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will be flying to their respective destinations in China for one last time today. This is intended to give our guests the opportunity to take their planned flight and our crews to return to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria,” the firm wrote. “Austrian Airlines will suspend its flights to and from China (Beijing & Shanghai) until February 9th. For operational reasons, acceptance of bookings for flights to China will be suspended until the end of February.”
United Airlines on Tuesday confirmed it would suspend some of its flights to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong in February and March due to a drop in demand.
“Due to a significant decline in demand for travel to China, we are suspending some flights between our hub cities and Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai beginning Feb. 1 through Feb. 8. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and will adjust our schedule as needed,” United said in a statement to news outlets.
Before that, a spokesman for Canadian airline Air Canada told Yahoo Finance that the company will cancel some flights to “match capacity with expected demand.”
Air India, Air Seoul, Lion Air, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia, Finnair, and IndiGo also said they would stop some or all flights to China, according to reports.
The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel advisory to its citizens on Monday, calling on Americans to reconsider going to China over the outbreak of the virus. U.S. citizens are not advised to travel to Hubei province, of which virus-hit Wuhan is its capital and largest city.