Finnair has announced that it will cut flights to China amid the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. At the same time, SAS has also announced that it will extend its suspension of flights to China.
The ongoing Coronavirus epidemic in East Asia is having some serious effects on the aviation industry. As a result of the epidemic, many flights have been canceled to China and a few other Asian destinations. This is due to a significant drop in demand for these locations. The latest airline to cut services to China is Finnair.
What’s the latest?
Today Finnair canceled its flights to mainland China until the end of the winter season. As a result, the airline will not operate flights to Beijing Capital Airport or Shanghai until the 29th of March. Additionally, the Finnish airline will reduce the frequency of its flights to Hong Kong by half. The twice-daily flight will become once daily until the 29th of March.
The drop in frequency to Hong Kong, tied with the cancellation of mainland China flights comes after Finnair previously canceled flights to Nanjing, Beijing Daxing, and Guangzhou during March. This was attributed to a decline in demand for group travel from China.
What about SAS?
Another Scandinavian airline today also updated it starts on flights to China today. Carrier SAS followed in the footsteps of Finnair by announcing that it would not fly to Shanghai or Beijing until March the 29th. However, SAS will continue its service to Hong Kong as scheduled.
SAS does seem to be appreciating that demand for Hong Kong has fallen. The carrier said that customers traveling to, from, or via Hong Kong can make voluntary changes to their reservation or request a refund for their booking.
Other airlines following suit
The changes announced today by Finnair and SAS follow suit with the rest of the industry. The majority of carriers flying to the region have altered, if not suspended, flights to China. One high profile airline, British Airways, has said that they will not fly to mainland China until April at the earliest following guidance from the United Kingdom government.
Meanwhile, American carriers such as United and American Airlines have suspended China-bound flights for a similar time period. However, unlike British Airways, Finnair, and SAS, these two airlines from North America are also not flying to Hong Kong for the time being.
While most carriers who have taken action have suspended flight until late March, these dates are not final. Depending on how the situation plays out, flight suspensions to China could be extended.
Are you due to fly to China within the next couple of months? What do you think of the extended cancellations?