Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flagship airline, said on Thursday it will temporarily suspend Cathay Dragon flights to and from Wuhan from Friday through Feb 29 due to the worrying situation at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
Passengers affected by the announcement can get a refund or postpone their travel plans. Charges for rebooking, rerouting and getting refunds will be waived.
The carrier said it is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to coordinate with health authorities in Hong Kong and other places where it operates flights.
The airline’s website indicated that it had the only flight from Wuhan to Hong Kong on Thursday, and it was one of the few flights out of the city that day. The flight to Hong Kong, which arrived at 2:03 pm, followed the airline’s Hong Kong-to-Wuhan flight that morning, according to websites of the Hong Kong Airport Authority and Wuhan Tianhe International Airport.
About 200 flights from the Wuhan airport had been canceled by 9 am on Thursday, the airport said in a Weibo post. Six hundred flights were previously scheduled to land or depart from the airport.
The Wuhan local government had shut down all public transportation in the city of 11 million people by 10 am on Thursday. All flights and trains scheduled to depart from Wuhan are also temporarily canceled to reduce the risk of spreading the new virus, the government said overnight.
Residents in Wuhan were advised not to leave the city unless there was a compelling reason to do so.
Meanwhile, Cathay Dragon denied rumors that three of the carrier’s flight attendants with fever symptoms had been sent to Princess Margaret Hospital after returning from Wuhan.
Airline stocks listed in Hong Kong tumbled on Thursday after reports that Wuhan was in a state of lockdown. Cathay shares declined 2.12 percent to HK$10.14. Air China and China Southern Airlines dropped 3.59 percent and 3.53 percent respectively.
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