Suspension of UK’s China flights ‘hits up to 35,000 passengers’

Up to 35,000 passengers could be affected by the cancellation of flights to mainland China by UK airlines due to the coronavirus, according to new figures.

British Airways announced on Wednesday it had grounded its daily flights connecting Heathrow with Beijing and Shanghai, after a change in Government travel advice relating to the outbreak.

It has cleared its schedules until at least the end of February.

Virgin Atlantic initially continued its flights between Heathrow and Shanghai, but on Thursday night it announced it will suspend the route for 14 days.

Several Chinese carriers are running their usual schedule to UK airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester.

Global travel and data analytics firm Cirium calculated that the decision of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to suspend flights has affected the travel plans of as many as 35,000 passengers.

Peter Morris, chief economist at Ascend by Cirium, said: “Cirium data clearly shows the dramatic impact that coronavirus is having, with nearly 10,000 scheduled flights to, from and within China being suspended between January 23 and 28.

“While the industry is playing its part to help prevent the spread of the virus, the outbreak will inevitably cause significant disruption of schedules and travel patterns in the short and medium term.”

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