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Coronavirus: UAE suspends all China flights, except for Beijing

Waheed Abbas/Abu Dhabi
Filed on February 3, 2020 | Last updated on February 3, 2020 at 09.40 pm
uae, china, flights, beijing, suspends, coronavirus, ncov, coronavirus, gcaa, flights, china, beijing

(AFP)

All incoming and outgoing flights to Wuhan - the city at the centre of the crisis - have been cancelled since January 23, 2020.

 The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on Monday ordered suspension of all flights to and from China, except the capital Beijing, from February 5 in order to contain the coronavirus disease.

The GCAA told airlines to inform passengers coming from Beijing about new procedures whereby they have to undergo  6-8 hours of comprehensive medical screening before boarding to ensure the safety of passengers.

All incoming and outgoing flights to Wuhan - the city at the centre of the crisis - have been cancelled since January 23, 2020.

"We continue to put our confidence in the Chinese Government's efforts to control and contain the situation," the GCAA said.

Earlier on Monday, Emirates airline reduced its capacity on China routes due to low demand amid growing concern about the disease.

The airline said it will replace the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, with the Boeing 777 on Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou routes.

"As part of its regular operational review, Emirates will deploy its Boeing 777 aircraft on routes between Dubai and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, instead of A380s," an Emirates spokesperson said.

"By utilising 777-300ERs instead of A380s, Emirates will be using jets that cost less to operate and still provide positive yield in the face of demand erosion. Critically, these sorts of adjustments are routine and allow Emirates to perform maintenance checks on its A380s. The airline invested in smaller 787-9s so that it can better match capacity to demand as the airline rejuvenates its future fleet," said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.

Last week, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways' connecting flight which allowed passengers to travel on from Beijing, China, to Nagoya, Japan, were temporarily suspended between February 3 and 29, due to low travel demand.

Dozens of regional and foreign airlines have cancelled flights to China while the governments around the world have banned people coming from China. Air Canada, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, EgyptAir, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, Philippines Airlines, Qantas Airways and Saudia airline are among others who have suspended flights to China because of the outbreak.

Moody's Investors Service has said that the World Health Organisation's declaration of coronavirus as a global emergency is a credit negative for airlines as outbreak has already sharply reduced bookings for global airlines that serve the Asia-Pacific region.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

 


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