Cathay Pacific will halt flights to Japan amid the travel restrictions that have been placed in the country. While concerns over COVID-19 coronavirus continue to grow, the Hong Kong flag carrier‘s Japan flights for the majority of March will be suspended.
Services from Hong Kong to Fukuoka, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Tokyo Haneda will all be canceled from today until March 28th. Additionally, flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansa will be suspended from March 13th until March 28th, along with operations from Taipei to Tokyo Narita and Osaka Kansai.
Business Traveller reports that this move follows Japan’s announcement that it will impose a 14-day quarantine period on all visitors from China and South Korea. Furthermore, from today, it will suspend visa-free policy for Hong Kong passport holders. This is in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.
Usually, Hong Kong passport holders can stay in Japan visa-free for up to 90 days. Along with this, Chinese citizens can usually apply for a visa on arrival. However, amid concerns of the growing outbreak, Japan has temporarily revised its approach.
Therefore, Cathay has had to make further amendments to its schedule. The airline shared that its flight suspensions are based on locations where the travel restrictions are prohibitive. Additionally, as the global concern continues to grow, the airline will continue to evaluate the situation.
“We are unable to consider the constraints of all countries’ travel-imposed rules right now, but please bear in mind we are constantly reviewing these as the situation evolves,” the operator said on its website.
“For all other countries, we are not able to offer a free refund, but you can change your flight with no rebooking or rerouting fees (fare difference applies). We are not able to give refunds for tickets that were bought after travel restrictions were announced.”
While many airlines have cut flights due to passenger concerns, Cathay has made these amendments on the back of Japan’s governmental policy. Affected passengers that have booked tickets to Japan on Cathay’s website mobile app or contact center can arrange a refund on the “Manage Booking” tab on the airline’s website.
According to Worldometer, there are currently over 47,000 active cases of Coronavirus across the world. Around 19,000 of the cases are in China and over 420 are in Japan. In total, there have been over 100 infections in Hong Kong since the outbreak emerged in the region in January.
While the situation continues to develop on every continent, airlines will be keeping a close eye on their operations in the coming weeks.
Simple Flying reached out to Cathay Pacific for more information on the suspensions but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.
What are your thoughts on airlines continuing to suspend flights? Are you one of the passengers impacted by the cancellations? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.