Coronavirus Responsible For Over 200,000 Flight Cancellations

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect the aviation industry, flight cancellations are mounting. In fact, according to flight data experts Cirium, some 200,000 flights have now been canceled as a result of the outbreak.

coronavirus, IATA, aviation impact
Some 200,000 flights have been canceled so far due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. Photo: Getty Images

Since the initial outbreak in late 2019, the coronavirus situation has been growing in severity. According to the latest data from the World Health Organisation, there are now 75,567 confirmed cases of the virus in China. That equates to 98% of the 76,785 worldwide cases. Given the severity of the outbreak in China, airlines have been cutting flights to the country. In fact, just today British Airways extended its flight suspension to mainland China until the 17th of April 2020.

200,000 flight cancellations

With over 200,000 flights now been canceled as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, over two-thirds of China’s scheduled flights have been canceled to date.

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In fact, China first restricted flights at Wuhan’s International Airport on the 23rd of January. Since this date, The number of Chinese flights has plummeted. Up until the 18th of April, around 100,000 flights so far have been canceled, with the remaining 100,000 having been removed from the schedules going forward.

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coronavirus, IATA, aviation impact
IATA yesterday revealed that the ongoing coronavirus epidemic is expected to cost the aviation industry just under $30 billion. Photo: Getty Images

A global effect

While the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak is in China, the effects of the epidemic are being felt globally. In fact, the Chinese cancellations have affected global air traffic. Richard Evans is a Senior Consultant at Ascend by Cirium. Of the situation, he commented: “For the first eight weeks of the year, Cirium’s schedules data shows that global capacity fell by 0.9% compared to 2019.“

Evans went on to add: “We are also now seeing impact outside of China. Countries with the biggest exposure to outbound Chinese leisure travelers, such as Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia have seen schedules cut by 70% or more on services to China.”

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Future cancellations

A number of airlines have proactively canceled flights to China for a variety of reasons. British Airways has canceled flights to mainland China until April 17th. These fight cancelations are largely connected to advice published by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, British Airways maintains its daily service to Hong Kong.

British Airways, China, Flight Suspension
British Airways has extended its coronavirus related mainland China flight suspension yet again. Photo: British Airways

The big three US airlines, American, United, and Delta have also canceled their China-bound services until mid-April. However, they have cited the cancellations to a severe drop in passenger demand. Unlike British Airways, these carriers have also canceled their Hong Kong bound services.

While most flight suspensions are currently scheduled until mid-April, there is a possibility that the return to service could be pushed back further. This depends on how the situation pans out.

Have you missed out on travel to China due to the outbreak? How did this make you feel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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