Coronavirus: More airlines slash flights to China amid outbreak of deadly virus

KLM, Delta and Lufthansa are among the carriers to cut flights 

British Airways suspends all flights to China amid coronavirus outbreak

More airlines are cancelling flights to China amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has killed 170 people.

KLM is slashing direct flights to a number of Chinese cities, including Chengdu, Hangzhou and Xiamen. The Netherlands flag carrier will also reduce the number of weekly flights to Shanghai from 11 to 7 times a week until 29 February.

KLM said it was axing flights based on “the decline in bookings”, rather than fears over the development of the flu-like virus.

Delta is set to halve its US-China flights from 6 February until the end of April.

Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines have suspended flights to mainland China until 9 February. The German carrier said it would halt sales of flights to mainland China until 29 February.

Likewise, SAS, which flies from Scandinavia, has cut flights to Beijing and Shanghai from 31 January to 9 February.

Iberia, which is part of the IAG airlines group alongside British Airways, has cancelled services from Madrid to Shanghai – its only direct flight to mainland China.

Korean Air is reducing the number of flights between its South Korean hubs and mainland China.

The airlines follow British Airways, which yesterday announced it would suspend all direct flights to and from mainland China amid the coronavirus outbreak, and has now extended the cancellation up to and including 29 February. The UK’s flag carrier usually operates daily flights from Heathrow Airport to Shanghai and Beijing.

The airline said: “We are contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including re-booking onto other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel.

"Customers can also find the latest information and options on BA.com.

“Safety is at the heart of everything we do and we will keep the situation under review.”

Air Canada, Finnair, Jetstar Asia, Lion Air, Cathay Pacific and United are also among those who have cut services to mainland China.

Flights to Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, are unaffected in all cases.

Most carriers who are still flying to China have offered travellers the chance to change their flights free of charge.

Elsewhere, Virgin Atlantic has said its flights from the UK to Shanghai will continue as normal.

Meanwhile, Japanese carrier ANA said its bookings for outbound China flights had halved in February compared to last year, as the coronavirus takes hold.

Earlier this week, the UK’s Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to mainland China.

A planned evacuation flight for UK citizens in Wuhan, the coronavirus epicentre, has been postponed. Around 200 passengers were due to land in the UK today at a military base, where they would be kept in quarantine for two weeks.

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