Air Canada says it will suspend all direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai through February, following a notice from Canada’s government advising against non-essential travel to mainland China on fears about the deadly Wuhan coronavirus.
The suspension of the carrier’s outbound flights from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver begins 30 January, while return flights from China will end 31 January.
“Affected customers will be notified and offered options, including travel on other carriers where available, or a full refund,” Air Canada says in a statement on 29 January.
Air Canada operates 70 flights per week on China routes between Shanghai, Beijing, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, Cirium schedules data shows.
The move follows several other international carriers like British Airways, Lufthansa and all three US majors suspending some or all of their flights into China as the rate of infections rise and consumer demand falls.
The World Health Organization will have its second day of meetings on 30 January about whether to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency. While all 132 deaths from the viral pneumonia disease occurred in mainland China, infections have been found in the USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia, France, Thailand and Japan.
The epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan is on transportation lockdown, including its airport and train stations, along with at least 10 other cities on mainland China.
More than 6,000 scheduled Chinese flights, including those to Wuhan, were suspended during 23-27 January amid the outbreak, Cirium data shows.