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American Airlines is Now Pulling Out of Hong Kong as Territory Records First Coronavirus Death

American Airlines is Now Pulling Out of Hong Kong as Territory Records First Coronavirus Death

As the demand for travel to and from Hong Kong plummets owing to the deadly novel Coronavirus outbreak, American Airlines has confirmed it will temporarily suspend its daily flights from Dallas and Los Angeles to the Chinese territory. American, like many other airlines, had already suspended flights to mainland China but pulling the plug on Hong Kong is a major departure from the policy adopted by a majority of carriers.

American Airlines simply said it was cancelling the services – initially until February 13 – because of unspecified “operational reasons”. The decision comes as Hong Kong records its first death from the Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in late December.

Globally, there have been nearly 21,000 reported cases of Coronavirus and nearly 430 deaths attributed to the SARS-like illness – the majority of which have been recorded in mainland China.

On Tuesday, sources at Hong Kong-based carrier Cathay Pacific claimed the airline would cut as much as 90 per cent of its services to mainland China – both in an attempt to limit the spread of the Coronavirus outbreak and because of plummeting demand.

Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific
Photo Credit: Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific flight attendants association has been calling on the airline to axe all mainland China flights over fears that its members could be put at risk of being infected with the virus.

Cathay Pacific did confirm that it would be temporarily reducing overall flight frequencies across its global route network by as much as 30 per cent because of falling demand. The airline has already been hit hard by months-long pro-democracy protests that have rocked the territory.

Those protests, along with the Coronavirus crisis is also likely to have seriously dented American’s bookings to the city. American has been offering a travel waiver for Hong Kong as part of its response to the mystery illness.

On Tuesday afternoon, United Airline also confirmed it would temporarily the plug on Hong Kong services. Citing a “continued drop in demand” the airline said it would suspend flights to Hong Kong beginning February 8. The airline is expected to resume flights to the territory on February 20.

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