In this Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, file photo, a poster warning about coronavirus is seen as passengers wear masks in a departure lobby at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

More airlines, including Air Canada, drop flights to China as virus spreads

Several airlines have halted flights to nation where virus has killed more than 130 people

Air Canada is cancelling select flights to China as travellers shaken by the coronavirus epidemic delay or call off travel plans.

Canada’s largest airline runs 33 flights a week to China and says that the capacity reduction is relatively small.

It’s allowing passengers to rebook direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai free of charge, if they’re scheduled for between late January and mid-February.

Air Canada is also waiving rebooking fees for flights that go through a partner airline to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, until late March.

The Montreal-based company has seen its shares fall by about 10 per cent since authorities confirmed on Jan. 20 human-to-human transmission of the illness, which has caused 132 deaths and infected more than 6,000 people.

Elsewhere, British Airways halted all flights to China and American Airlines suspended Los Angeles flights to and from Shanghai and Beijing as efforts to contain a new virus intensifies.

The coronavirus has now infected more people in China than were sickened in the country by the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003. The number of confirmed cases jumped to 5,974, surpassing the 5,327 in mainland China from SARS. The virus has killed more than 130 people.

The British and U.S. carriers on Wednesday joined several Asian carriers that are either suspending or significantly cutting back service there as fears spread about the coronavirus.

Air India and South Korean budget carrier Seoul Air are also halting all flights to the country, and Indonesia’s Lion Air plans to do the same. Other carriers including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia are slashing service.

Beyond disrupting travel, the move will heighten concerns about the broader economic impact of the virus outbreak. Hotels, airlines, casinos and cruise operators are among the industries suffering the most immediate repercussions, especially in countries close to China.

LATEST: Feds preparing plane to fly Canadians out of Wuhan, once China gives OK

China has cut off access to Wuhan, epicentre of the outbreak, and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further.

That has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed. The outbreak has infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Air CanadaAir TravelCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local cat rescue organization hit by camera theft

“Someone is taking from an organization trying to help cats who are surviving in the wild.”

Fundraising conference, concert on deck for Comox Valley Transition Society

Women Who Inspire Conference and Concert at Filberg Centre March 1

Changes recommended for four Comox Valley schools to ease capacity

Possible measures include cross-boundary transfer closures, modular buildings

North Island College students serving up food and wine at 40 Knots

North Island College tourism and hospitality and culinary students teaming up with… Continue reading

MARS Wildlife Rescue gets help from local children

The new Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) visitor centre in Merville has… Continue reading

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Feb. 18

More beefs to the tip-expecting server; a bouquet to BC Transit

Original Victoria Clipper vessel sails one last time

Vessel sold to buyers in Gabon, Central Africa

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Most Read