Delta, American and United suspend flights to China amid coronavirus outbreak
ATLANTA - Both Delta Air Lines and American Airlines have suspended all flights to and from China as the spread of the deadly coronavirus continues, while United Airlines said it will suspend flights to three big Chinese cities but will continue flying to Hong Kong.
Delta announced Friday that all U.S. flights to China beginning Feb. 6 through April 30 have been suspended. Its last China-bound flight departing the U.S. will leave on Monday, with the last return flight back to the U.S. departing China on Feb. 5.
“Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so,” the Atlanta-based carrier said in a statement. “The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and may make additional adjustments as the situation continues to evolve.”
Delta Air Lines Airbus A220-100 aircraft as seen on final approach landing with landing gear down at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 14, 2019. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Delta said affected customers with travel plans during this time can request a refund, re-accomodation to flights after April 30, or contact Delta’s customer service to discuss additional options.
American Airlines also said it was suspending flights to China beginning Friday through March 27.
United Airlines, the only other U.S. carrier with direct flights to China, announced that it will suspend flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu but continue flights to Hong Kong. United said its action would run until March 28.
All three of the U.S. carriers had reported a steep decline in bookings to China. American was under extra pressure after the union representing its pilots sued to halt the flights and told its members not to fly to China because of the health risks.
Several major international airlines, including Air France, British Airways and Scandinavian Airlines, had already suspended service to the country.
China as of Friday morning counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities. The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, where the first illnesses were detected in December.
No deaths have been reported outside of China.
The virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, a worrying sign of its spread that prompted the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency. In the U.S., there have been five confirmed cases identified in Washington state, California, Arizona and Illinois.
On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued the highest travel advisory level warning against traveling to China.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.