American Airlines has halted flights to Hong Kong. This comes despite the World Health Organisation saying that there are just 15 cases of coronavirus which have been found in Hong Kong.
Airlines across the world are slowly cutting their services to destinations in China. This is due to an outbreak of Coronavirus is spreading across the region. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, 20,630 have now been infected with the virus which can cause death.
Of the infected, 99% of cases are located within mainland China. Earlier today both Emirates and Etihad announced that they would cut flights to all destinations in mainland China except for Beijing.
American Airlines suspends flights to Hong Kong
Almost all flight suspensions so far have been to mainland China. This means that special administrative regions such as Hong Kong have largely been unaffected. The World Health Organisation’s latest data shows that just 15 people have been infected with coronavirus in Hong Kong. That equates to 0.07% of the total infected population.
However, as a precaution, American Airlines is halting flights to Hong Kong until the 20th of February at the earliest. According to CNBC, the move is in response to the unhappiness of pilots flying to the region. The Hong Kong Government will tonight close all but two border crossings into mainland China.
Fall in demand?
The Allied Pilots Association had told the airline’s pilots to refuse to fly to Hong Kong. They cited concerns about the risk of coronavirus in the region. CNBC says that the union sued the airline to halt flights to China including Hong Kong. However, American Airlines told us that the suspension was in response to a drop in demand.
An American Airlines spokesperson told Simple Flying,
“We have suspended flying to Hong Kong from both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles through Feb. 20 due to demand. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any updates as needed.”
General demand to China has fallen rapidly as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Any US citizen who has been to China in the last 14 days can only enter the US through 7 Airports, while non-citizens meeting the criteria are not permitted to enter the country.
Other airlines have also been canceling flights on government advice. British Airways suspended flights to mainland China when the UK government advised against all but essential travel to the nation. The UK government today announced that Brits in China should leave the country if able. However, the British flag carrier continues to fly to Hong Kong.
Was American Airlines right to cut flights to Hong Kong as well as mainland China? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!