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Chinese aviation hard hit by coronavirus outbreak

Chinese aviation hard hit by coronavirus outbreak

Nearly 10,000 flights have been suspended since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China new research has revealed.

The thousands of cancellations come as authorities in China, and around the world, grapple with the spread of the virus.

There have been more than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus in China to date.

Some 361 people have died on the mainland alone.

Outside China, there are more than 150 confirmed cases of the virus - and one death, in the Philippines.

Just today, the United States declared a public health emergency and said authorities would deny entry to foreign nationals who had visited China in the past two weeks.

New data from Cirium statistics show that 9,807 scheduled flights within, to and from mainland China did not fly from January 23rd as a result of the spread of the disease.

The data spans the period from the day before the first reported flight cancellation until January 28th - the latest day for which figures are available.

A growing number of international carriers are suspending scheduled flights to mainland China, including UK airlines.

Flag carrier British Airways has cancelled all of the 129 flights that were scheduled to fly to Beijing and Shanghai from London Heathrow until February 29, affecting up to 24,000 passengers.


Similarly, Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be suspending its flights to and from China until further notice.

According to Cirium data, the decision could affect 56 of the British carrier’s scheduled flights and as many as 11,500 passengers to the end of February.

Cirium analysis reveals 92 per cent of all scheduled flights to and from Wuhan – the city at the epicentre of the latest outbreak – did not fly between January 23rd-28th.

Of the 2,606 flights that were set to fly in and out of the city, which is home to 11 million people, a total of 2,406 services did not take place over this period.

Peter Morris, chief economist at Ascend by Cirium, said: “Cirium data clearly shows the dramatic impact that coronavirus is having, with nearly 10,000 scheduled flights to, from and within China being suspended between January 23rd-28th.

“While the industry is playing its part to help prevent the spread of the virus, the outbreak will inevitably cause significant disruption of schedules and travel patterns in the short and medium term.

“The precedent of the SARS outbreak indicates to us that the underlying demand for travel driven by GDP growth will in time produce a robust recovery.”

According to Cirium, a total of 90,607 domestic and international flights were scheduled to operate across mainland China over the six-day period, between January 23rd-28th, out of which 9,807 did not fly.

This represents a sizeable 11 per cent of the country’s overall scheduled flights.

Cirium’s data also shows that during this period Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines was the most heavily affected carrier by total number flights that did not operate.

A total of 1,591 of its services were affected including 1,529 domestic and 62 international.

This was closely followed by China Southern Airlines with 1,510 flights, including 1,425 domestic and 85 international, which did not take off.

Xiamen Airlines suffered 837 unoperated flights, including 828 domestic and nine international services.