Budget carriers suspend flights to China ‘til March

Budget carriers suspend flights to China ‘til March

MANILA — Amid rising concerns about the deadly spread of novel coronavirus (2019 nCov), budget carriers Cebu Pacific (CEB) and AirAsia Philippines on Saturday announced the cancellation of flights to mainland China until March.

CEB’s announcement came a day after it announced it would only reduce flights between the Philippines and mainland China.

The country’s low-cost airline, however, eventually decided to cancel all its operations to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, from Feb. 2 to March 29 this year.

Its operations between the Philippines and Hong Kong and Macau, on the other hand, have been reduced.

CEB spokesperson Charo Lagamon earlier said the carrier had already determined the canceled flights in the reduction scheme, and that they are already notifying the affected passengers.

AirAsia Philippines also announced the cancellation of flights between the Philippines and select Chinese routes until March 1.

These are flights from Manila and Kalibo to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Both airlines gave the affected passengers the option to rebook or refund their tickets, or to store the ticket value in a travel fund.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL), meanwhile, said flights between Manila and China would be reduced to over 50 percent beginning February 1.

Canceled flights announced on PAL’s official Facebook page are scheduled until April 1.

Several international airlines have also either suspended or reduced flights to China.

Delta, for instance, canceled all its flights between the United States and China beginning February 6 until April 30.

Qatar Airways on Saturday announced it would suspend flights to China starting Feb. 3 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to Anadolu report.

The 2019-nCov has started spreading in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province in December last year.

The coronavirus has killed some 259 people in China, with at least 12,000 infected. More than 118,000 people are under medical observation.  Ma. Cristina Arayata /PNA – northboundasia.com