Hong Kong’s four main carriers will halve their services into Mainland China, as part of special arrangements made in light of a novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
The Hong Kong government said in a 28 January press briefing that the carriers — Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, Hong Kong Express, as well as Hong Kong Airlines (HKA) — will cut capacity to 24 points in Mainland China.
Service frequency between Hong Kong and these points will go from about 480 flights weekly, to about 240 flights from 30 January, until further notice.
Hong Kong has already moved to suspend flights between Hong Kong and Hubei province since 24 January. The coronavirus outbreak originated from Wuhan city, the capital of Hubei province.
The move to reduce the number of flights to Mainland China comes as part of a broader move by the Hong Kong authorities to “reduce the risk” of the coronavirus outbreak from spreading.
Cathay and Cathay Dragon say in a separate media release that the capacity reduction will take place till the end of March.
“We are actively reviewing our flight schedules at the moment and will be updating them progressively over the next 48 hours,” the carriers state.
Cirium schedules data indicates that Cathay and Cathay Dragon jointly fly to 22 cities from Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, HKA says its cancellations will last till 11 February. The service cuts will affect 10 points on its Mainland China network, including destinations such as Haikou, Chengdu and Tianjin. The carrier flies to 11 points in Mainland China, schedules data reveals.
As for HK Express, it only flies to Ningbo. The carrier did not state if it was fully suspending the route, or reducing its frequency.
According to Chinese state media, as of 29 January, the death toll in China from the outbreak hit 132, with the number of confirmed cases to be more than 5,900.
Apart from China, other countries affected by the outbreak include Singapore, Australia, Canada, the USA, France, Japan and Thailand. Sri Lanka is the latest country to report a case.
In the wake of the outbreak, the city of Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the outbreak, has been placed on an indefinite lockdown, with all transport links in and out of the city — including its airport and train stations — shut off. At least 10 other cities have been placed on similar lockdown measures.
Upddated with revised numbers of deaths, confirmed cases.