Virus Crisis Prompts Hawaiian To Halt Seoul Flights


Hawaiian Airlines will enact a two months suspension on flights to South Korea. The American carrier today said that it would cancel flights to Seoul for most of the duration of March and April.

Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Punctuality
Hawaiian Airlines will suspend flights to Seoul for a period of two months. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

When the coronavirus epidemic started to become viewed as a serious threat, China chose to quarantine Wuhan, the ground zero city. As such, the local airport was largely closed down. Since then, a number of carriers have significantly cut their services to mainland China. However, other countries are now also starting to feel the effect of flight restrictions. One of these is South Korea.

What’s the latest?

Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will suspend its flights to Seoul in South Korea for a period of two months. The suspended service currently operates five times weekly. As a result, around 45 rotations between Honolulu (HNL), and Seoul’s Incheon Airport (ICN) will be canceled.

The last service to operate to Seoul before the suspension will be flight 459 on the 1st of March. It will depart from Honolulu at 13:10, before touching down in Seoul at 20:00 on the 2nd of March. Having been on the ground for two hours, the return leg will take to the sky at 22:00. It will then touch back down in Honolulu at around 11:00 on the 2nd of March.

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

From the 2nd of March 2020 onwards, Hawaiian Airlines flights will not depart for Seoul. The suspension is currently due to last until the 30th of April with flights resuming on the 1st of May. However, this return to service will depend on how the situation in South Korea pans out. For example, if it gets much worse, then the suspension could be extended into May and beyond.

Temporary suspension is “prudent”

Speaking about the temporary cessation of flights Hawaiian Airlines’ CEO, Peter Ingram said,


“We believe a temporary service suspension is prudent given the escalation of COVID-19 in South Korea and the impact the illness has had on demand for leisure travel from that country.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation and extend our support for public health efforts to contain the virus. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to support impacted guests.”

coronavirus, IATA, aviation impact
Coronavirus is having a serious effect on the aviation industry as a whole. Photo: Getty Images

In the meantime, flights to Seoul will continue until Sunday, allowing passengers to reschedule their return. The airline has also issued a travel waiver for those headed to Seoul. The carrier additionally said that it would offer passengers alternative flights or give them a refund.

Do you think the flight suspension is a necessary precaution, or a premature overreaction? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.