Two major airlines suspend USA-to-China flights as concerns continue over deadly coronavirus

Delta airplane. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: American Airlines has alerted travelers that flights are suspended through late April. Here is the alert from American Airlines’ website:

The flying suspension relates to mainland China and Hong Kong:

  • Flights between DFW/LAX and the mainland China are suspended through April 24.
  • Flights between DFW and Hong Kong (HKG) are suspended through April 23.
  • Flights between LAX and HKG are suspended through April 24.

Delta and American Airlines are suspending United States-to-China trips for months, as concerns continue over the mysterious and deadly coronavirus that originated in China.

American suspended China-bound flights as of Friday, while Delta’s suspension starts Feb. 6, after the Super Bowl.

Health officials are worried about the spread of the virus across the globe, with six confirmed cases in the United States, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Thus far, Florida does not have a confirmed case, though Miami International has been designated as a quarantine station to screen international travelers.

The potentially fatal disease sometimes is referred to as Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Both airlines issued announcements by press release Friday and said they will make necessary accommodations for travelers, such as refunds or other options.

“Delta has decided to temporarily suspend all U.S. to China flying beginning Feb. 6 through April 30 due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus,” officials said in a written statement.

“Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so.”

American said in its press release: “American is suspending its operations to and from the Chinese mainland beginning today through March 27. Our teams are contacting affected customers directly to accommodate their needs.”

Florida Phoenix previously reported the latest U.S. confirmed case — a man in Illinois who got the virus from his wife, who earlier had traveled to China.

In addition to Miami International, the “Tampa International Airport is aware of the coronavirus and is prepared for any potential impacts to our area,” said Ashley Iaccarino, communications coordinator at the Tampa airport.

“Currently, there are no changes to the screening procedures conducted by Customs for our arriving international passengers,” Iaccarino said in a written statement. “We maintain close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Miami to receive all timely updates.”

She continued: “TPA has approximately 136 incoming travelers from China daily; That is ALL of China, and all of those travelers will process through an airport where they are currently screening passengers for coronavirus before arriving in Tampa.”

Rod Johnson, assistant director of public affairs at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, said the airlines’ decision to suspend service to China does not affect Orlando International since they “do not have service to China or that region of the world.”