Budget airline IndiGo and national carrier Air India on Wednesday suspended flights to China because of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000, PTI reported.
IndiGo said flights on the Bengaluru–Hong Kong route will be suspended from February 1, and on the Delhi–Chengdu route from February 1 to 20. However, the airline will continue to operate the Kolkata–Guangzhou flight, which is being “monitored on a daily basis”.
“After carefully assessing the current coronavirus situation in China, IndiGo is taking some safety measures for its customers, crew and staff,” the airline said in a statement. “Due to China travel restrictions, we have seen a high number of cancellations from China on our Delhi–Chengdu route and vice versa. Therefore, we are suspending our flights between Delhi and Chengdu from February 1, 2020 until February 20, 2020. We are also suspending our Bengaluru–Hong Kong flight effective February 1, 2020.”
“And for our operating crew, we are ensuring that they return to India on the inbound flights without any layover in China,” IndiGo said.
Air India said it was suspending its flights on the Delhi–Shanghai route from January 31 to February 14. “Cancellation charges for travel to/from Shanghai and Hong Kong on Air India flights is waived off with immediate effect till further notice,” the airline tweeted.
All crew members working on flights operated by the national carrier between India and South East Asia have been asked to wear N95 masks.
Other foreign airlines have also cancelled flights to China as demand fell sharply and because of deepening fears over the spread of the virus. British Airways, Finnish airline Finnair, United, Air Canada and Indonesian airline Lion Air have suspended flights to China. Countries have also warned their citizens that they should reconsider plans to visit China.