Airlines across the globe are suspending more flights to China, as governments tightened up on travel to help stop the spread of the deadly Wuhan virus.
British Airways said it's immediately suspending all of its flights to and from mainland China after the UK government warned against unnecessary travel to the country amid a virus outbreak.
BA said in a statement Wednesday that "we apologize to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.''
The airline operates daily flights from London's Heathrow Airport to Shanghai and Beijing. It took the measure a day after Britain's Foreign Office updated its travel advice on China, warning against "all but essential travel'' to the mainland, not including Hong Kong and Macao.
Air France suspended its three weekly flights to Wuhan on January 24, but as of Wednesday morning said it was maintaining its 23 weekly flights to Beijing and Shanghai.
Russia's Urals Airlines, which had already suspended flights to several destinations in China, announced on Wednesday it was cutting some services to Europe popular with Chinese tourists, including Paris and Rome, because of the outbreak.
Indonesia's Lion Air to suspend China flights
Indonesia's Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia's biggest carrier by fleet size, is halting all its flights to and from China owing to the deadly coronavirus, a company spokesman said Wednesday.
"All flights to China will be suspended temporarily starting from February 1st until further notice," Danang Mandala Prihantoro told AFP. Dozens of flights would be affected on routes to 15 Chinese cities, he added.
Finnish airline Finnair said on January 28 it would suspend its routes to Nanjing and Beijing Daxing until end of March after China suspended international group travel from the country.
Finnair will suspended its three weekly flights between Helsinki and Beijing Daxing International Airport between Feb. 5 and March 29, and its two weekly flights between Helsinki and Nanjing between Feb. 8 and March 29.
Chicago-based United said it was suspending 24 US flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 due to a significant drop in demand.
Air Canada said on January 28 it was cancelling select flights to China to better match capacity with expected demand.
Cathay Pacific slashes service by 50%
Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said separately it would cut capacity to China by 50% or more starting Thursday, in another blow to a carrier already under strain from protests in Hong Kong. In the U.S., United Airlines Inc. said it would reduce flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Governments have stepped up efforts to stop the spread of the disease as clusters of the infection began cropping up in countries outside of China, including Germany. That's caused airlines, which had already pulled back from Wuhan, to place other other Chinese destinations off limits. Wuhan's airport handles about 25 million passengers a year.
The number of confirmed cases in China soared to 5,974 - overtaking the country's official count of SARS patients - while 132 people were reported to have died of the coronavirus.
The increased alarm has already had an effect on travel within China during the Lunar New Year holiday season. Domestic travel on railways, road, water and airplanes in China fell 7.4% between Jan. 10 and Jan. 28, People's Daily reported, citing the Ministry of Transport.
Several South Korean carriers have also halted flights to Chinese cities, including Asiana Airlines Inc., Jeju Air Co. and Jin Air Co., while Finnair Oyj and Air Macau Co. are among others taking similar steps.