British Airways suspends all flights to China over coronavirus

British Airways suspends all flights to China over coronavirus

Grounded British Airways planes sit on the tarmac at Heathrow airport Terminal 5
Grounded British Airways planes sit on the tarmac at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 in west London on Sep 9, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Ben STANSALL)

LONDON: British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China after Britain warned against all but essential travel to the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

BA.com, the airline's website, shows no direct flights to China are available in January and February.

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"We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority," BA said in an emailed statement on Wednesday (Jan 29). 

"Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com."

BA flies daily from London's Heathrow airport to Shanghai and Beijing.

Its announcement came after Russia's Urals Airlines on Wednesday said it had suspended some services to Europe popular with Chinese tourists, including Paris and Rome, because of the outbreak.

Indonesia's Lion Air also said on Wednesday that it was halting all flights to and from China, affecting dozens of flights on routes to 15 Chinese cities.

In response to CNA queries on Wednesday, Singapore Airlines said it has not cancelled any flights to China, but added that it will cease layovers for crew on flights to Beijing and Shanghai as a precautionary measure.

Flights to both cities will instead operate as a turnaround flights from 7.30am on Thursday (Jan 30), a Singapore Airlines spokesman said.

Chinese authorities said on Wednesday the total number of deaths from the flu-like virus has risen to 132, while the number of confirmed cases has risen to a total of 5,974.

Britain on Tuesday advised against "all but essential" travel to mainland China due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Source: Agencies/nh

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