Chinese airlines cut flights to South Korea over growing Mers outbreak: Xinhua

An employee dressed in a Hanbok traditional costume wears a mask to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) as she stands in front of a check-in counter at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea on June 14, 2015
An employee dressed in a Hanbok traditional costume wears a mask to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) as she stands in front of a check-in counter at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea on June 14, 2015. Chinese airlines are cutting flights to South Korea as the growing Mers outbreak reduces travel demand to the country, a Xinhua report said on Sunday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - Chinese airlines are cutting flights to South Korea as the growing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) outbreak reduces travel demand to the country, a Xinhua report said on Sunday.

Air China has cut the number of flights from Beijing to Seoul to 21 a week from 24, the report said. The move, effective since Saturday, will be in place till the end of August.

China Eastern Airlines will cut the number of its Kunming to Seoul flights from five to two a week starting Monday until June 30. From July 1 to the end of August, the airline will fly thrice a week between the two cities, Xinhua said.

Other airlines such as China Southern Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Capital Airlines and budget carrier Spring Airlines have already either cut or suspended flights to South Korea.

The country had surpassed Thailand and Japan to become the most favored destination for Chinese outbound tourists in 2014 with 6.1 million visitors.

South Korea on Sunday reported its 15th death from the Mers virus, Agence France-Presse reported. The growing outbreak has now infected 145 people nationwide.

About 100,000 foreign travellers have cancelled trips to South Korea since the beginning of this month.