SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) will suspend layovers for its pilots and cabin crew on flights to Beijing and Shanghai, a move that requires them to head back to Singapore as soon as possible instead of staying overnight in the two Chinese cities.
The new measure, scheduled to start from 7.30am on Thursday (Jan 30), comes amid growing concern about the spread of the Wuhan virus.
SIA operates 21 flights weekly to Beijing and 28 per week to Shanghai as of this month.
An SIA spokesman told The Straits Times on Wednesday that operating them as turnaround flights is "a precautionary measure for the safety of our crew".
The spokesman added SIA is compliant with regulatory requirements, with the necessary inflight and post-flight rest extended to its crew.
The flights will also continue to be operated in line with SIA's published schedule.
China had said on Wednesday that the death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country has risen to 132, with 5,974 people confirmed to be infected.
In Singapore, 10 infected people have been confirmed.
SIA's announcement is the latest in a series of precautions airlines have taken after warnings over travel to China following the Wuhan virus outbreak.
Budget carrier Jetstar Asia said on Wednesday it will temporarily suspend its services to Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou in China.
The last flights to the three cities will be on Thursday. The suspension will last till March 31, after which it will be reviewed.
Jetstar said it will contact all affected customers, who can cancel their bookings and get a full refund or a credit voucher.
Meanwhile, British Airways has suspended all flights to and from China until March, citing safety concerns for its crew and customers.
It made the decision following advice from the United Kingdom Foreign Office against all forms of travel to China except essential ones, the airline said.
Other carriers, like United Airlines, have said they were cancelling some flights to China as demand plunges and global companies tell their employees not to travel on deepening fears over the spread of the virus.