**Update03/02/20@13:15 UTC- Emirates replied to Simple Flying’s request for information regarding flights to China, details below**
Dubai based Emirates Airlines announced today that it would be reducing capacity on flights to China. Having now revised its service for February 2020, the Gulf State airline will remove Airbus A380s on routes between Dubai and a number of Chinese destinations.
Destinations affected by the capacity reduction include:
- Hong Kong
Rather than using the double-decker Airbus A380, as demand declines, Emirates will replace it with relatively smaller Boeing 777-300ERs. Despite other airlines completely canceling their services to China, and countries around the world refusing entry to people coming from the nation, both Emirates and Etihad continue to operate flights between the UAE and China.
Most major airlines have suspended flights to China
The flight suspensions by major carriers follow an outbreak of a never before seen coronavirus in the city of Wuhan. Amid fears that the deadly virus could spread and become a pandemic, the authorities in Beijing have quarantined the city and restricted travel.
As of today, the BBC is reporting that more than 300 people have died. Furthermore, at least 14,000 who have contracted the virus. Despite the seriousness of the outbreak and global concerns that the virus will spread further, both Emirates and Etihad have said that their operations will continue. Meanwhile, Lufthansa, Qantas, Delta Air Lines, British Airways, United Airlines, and American Airlines have all halted flights to China.
Emirates and Etihad will continue flying to China
Speaking ahead of the weekend, Etihad announced it was suspending fifth freedom operations between Beijing and the Japanese city of Nagoya. This was due to low demand. However, the carrier said flights from Abu Dhabi to Beijing would continue as normal.
UAE English daily newspaper The National quotes a spokesperson for Etihad as saying:
“Flights from Abu Dhabi to mainland China and Hong Kong continue to operate normally, following the World Health Organization’s recommendation that normal travel and trade with China should continue.
“The safety and well-being of its passengers and employees is the highest priority of Etihad Airways, which continues to collaborate with authorities and industry partners, and to independently monitor global action to help address this issue.”
The flights continue to operate despite the fifth case of coronavirus being confirmed in the UAE yesterday. Following this news, the Education authorities in Abu Dhabi were eager to reassure parents that no cases of coronavirus had been reported in the capital.
The Geneva-based World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of the coronavirus as a global emergency. In fact, new cases are being reported every hour. As well as airlines refusing to fly to China, many countries around the world are advising their citizens to avoid travel to China at the present time. Several countries, including the United States and Australia, are refusing entry to all foreign visitors who were recently in China.
Why have Emirates and Etihad not suspended flights?
Considering the millions of dollars a day the situation is costing airlines and governments around the world to contain a deadly virus for which they have no cure, why Emirates and Etihad continue to fly to China astounds me. Not only are Emirates and Etihad putting their employees at risk of contracting the virus, but they are also putting people in the UAE at risk as well.
What do you think about Emirates and Etihad continuing to fly to China? Please let us know in the comments.
**Emirates flights are currently operating as scheduled to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Customers who are unable to travel to countries as a result of immigration restrictions placed due to the coronavirus outbreak may rebook, reroute or request a refund based on the options that can be found on https://www.emirates.com/us/english/help/travel-updates.aspx/#3514
We can confirm that the Dubai health authorities are screening passengers and crew who arrive on Emirates’ flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Our passengers and crew also undergo thermal scanning and a card based questionnaire for risk assessment while departing mainland China.
We are providing masks and hand sanitisers to our crew on our flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and they have the option to wear masks on board. Our crew are trained, and have been reminded, to follow best practices in hygiene as defined by experts and authorities, including the World Health Organisation and IATA. They will follow standard operating procedures to manage any suspected cases on board.
We are in close contact with all relevant UAE, Chinese and other regulatory authorities, and are complying with their directives and guidance. We are also closely monitoring and implementing the guidance of the World Health Organisation, which currently does not advise any restrictions on travel. For more information on passenger screening, please contact the UAE’s Ministry of Health.**