Mindanao Times

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 re duce 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, 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% 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.

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