Wuhan virus: SIA to suspend additional flights between Singapore and China

SIA currently operates 56 weekly flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) said in an updated Facebook post on Saturday (Feb 1) that it will be suspending additional flights between Singapore and mainland China in February due to the growing scale of the Wuhan virus.

SIA and SilkAir will be cancelling about 10 additional flights between Singapore and Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chongqing.

Some of the previously affected flights announced on Friday will have cancellations starting on earlier dates. For instance, SQ800 from Singapore to Beijing will be cancelled from Feb 4 to 16, in addition to the previously announced cancellations from Feb 25 to 28.

Affected customers will be notified and booked on other flights, SIA said.

SIA currently operates 56 weekly flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Budget airline Jetstar Asia also announced on Saturday that it will suspend all its remaining services from Singapore to mainland China - Shantou and Haikou - from Friday (Feb 7) until March 31, following extended restrictions by the Ministry of Health on Saturday.

The situation will then be reviewed.

Jetstar Asia's services to Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou in China have already been suspended since Thursday (Jan 30). They will be suspended until March 31, after which they will be reviewed.

Fewer services from Shantou to Singapore will operate on Saturday (Feb 1), Wednesday (Feb 5) and Friday (Feb 7), with the final flight scheduled on Friday, Jetstar said. Scheduled flights from Haikou to Singapore will operate till Saturday (Feb 8).

Affected customers will be contacted via SMS and/or email and can cancel their bookings and obtain a full refund or credit vouchers.

Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who are in Shantou or Haikou and have booked a return flight after Friday can change their flight and return to Singapore before flights are suspended.

SIA's budget carrier Scoot has also suspended flights from Singapore to 11 cities in mainland China, it said in a Facebook post on Friday. These cities are Harbin, Hangzhou, Shenyang, Xi'an, Changsha, Nanchang, Zhengzhou, Ningbo, Jinan, Nanning and Wuxi. Flight suspensions will start from early February and last until end-March.

Affected customers booked on these flights will receive a full refund of the unused itinerary value through their original mode of payment.

There will also be fewer Scoot flights to eight cities - Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Haikou, Kunming, Nanjing, Qingdao, Tianjin and Macau - from Saturday to March 2.

Global travel and data analytics expert Cirium said on Saturday that nearly 10,000 flights have been suspended globally since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.

Cirium said 92 per cent of all scheduled flights to and from Wuhan - the city at the centre of the latest outbreak - did not fly between Jan 23 and Tuesday. Of the 2,606 flights that were set to fly in and out of the city, 2,406 services did not take place over this period.

Airports with the highest numbers of unoperated flights include Wuhan, Beijing and Guangzhou, as airlines continue to suspend services.

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