U.S. airlines halt China service, widening flight disruption

January 31, 2020, 7:51 PM UTC

U.S. airlines are halting China service because of health concerns from the coronavirus outbreak, shutting down flights between the world’s two largest economies.

American Airlines Group Inc. said Friday it would cease flights Jan. 31, a day after the U.S. government warned people not to travel to China. Delta Air Lines Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will operate their last service, which will be return flights from China, on Feb. 5. United and American will continue to fly to Hong Kong.

The shutdown of air links between the U.S. and China is deepening the disruption from the coronavirus, which has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization. The halt of flights connecting the U.S. with Beijing and Shanghai underscores the rising concern, since both cities are hundreds of miles from the focus of the outbreak around Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province.

European carriers including British Airways, Air France and Deutsche Lufthansa AG had already announced plans to stop flying to China.

American said it would work to reaccommodate passengers after the immediate halt to service to Beijing and Shanghai.

Delta said operating flights for the next few days would give customers looking to leave China a way to do so. The airline’s suspension will last through April, while the halt at American and United will last until late March.

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