Airlines cut 25,000 China flights over health leader protests

Cheryl Sanders
February 5, 2020

Flight CZ305 was one of three that arrived at Auckland Airport from mainland China on Monday afternoon and evening.

Amid the growing fear over the coronavirus outbreak, almost 40 airlines worldwide have cut about 25,000 flights to, from or within China compared with two weeks ago.

The missionaries in Hong Kong and Macau will be reassigned to other missions elsewhere in the world or, if they are near the end of their service time, will be released, according to a church news release. Over 150 countries, including Canada and the US, have reported cases.

It had already suspended half of its flights to the country, following a decision by Hong Kong authorities.

The carrier announced Friday it would be canceling flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai starting on Thursday and extending through March 28.

The coronavirus outbreak has stopped millions of Chinese people from traveling, with the number of trips over this year's Lunar New Year break down 30% to 1.3 billion compared to last year, Ministry of Transportation data showed.

The announcements mean no U.S. carriers will be flying passenger flights to Hong Kong after this week.

Generally, foreign nationals, other than the immediate family of US citizens, permanent residents, and flight crew; who have travelled in China within 14 days of their arrival, will be denied entry into the USA, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

United Airlines will cancel all flights to and from Hong Kong beginning February 8 until February 20 due to a "continued drop in demand".

Last week, the Trump administration declared the outbreak a public health emergency, barring foreign nationals who recently visited mainland China from entering the US, and imposing a 14-day quarantine on American citizens returning from the country.

Police and health officials responded to the airport about 4.30pm, a police spokesperson said. Cuts to its mainland services also result in fewer connecting passengers, which is one of the reasons why the airline now announced a reduction of its worldwide flights.

Those airports include Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, New York's JFK, Chicago's O'Hare, Honolulu International, Seattle-Tacoma International and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International.

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