Welcome to London Air Travel’s Monday Briefing for the week beginning 3 February 2020.
Mainland China Flight Suspensions & Travel Restrictions
In the space of a week, the vast majority of the world’s airlines have either suspended entirely, or substantially reduced, scheduled services to mainland China.
Some territories have also banned flights to the broader region outright. Many countries, including Australia, Bahamas, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago, and United States, have imposed immigration restrictions on those that have recently visited China.
In the case of any flight departing for the United States after 22:00 GMT on Sunday 2 February 2020, non-US residents will be denied entry if they have visited mainland China in the past 14 days.
US citizens and residents returning to the US who have visited mainland China in the past 14 days must return via an approved US airport only. These are Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas Fort Worth Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Newark, New York JFK, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington Dulles. All US bound passengers will be asked to confirm this when checking in and should allow extra time at the airport. Transatlantic airlines have put in place flexible rebooking policies to accommodate passengers who are affected by this measure.
These developments affect not only passengers, but also airlines in terms of rostering crews, which has prompted many to suspended services.
Here is the current status of cancellations at the time of “going to press”. These are all under constant review and can be amended at any time. In all likelihood, airlines that have only suspended services for a short period of time will extend the period of cancellation.
Air France has suspended Paris Charles de Gaulle – Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong until Sunday 9 February 2020 and Wuhan until Saturday 29 February 2020.
Air New Zealand has suspended Auckland – Shanghai Pudong until Sunday 29 March 2020.
American Airlines has suspended all flights to mainland China until Friday 27 March 2020.
British Airways has suspended all flights from London Heathrow to Beijing Daxing and Shanghai Pudong International airports until 29 February 2020. A flexible rebooking policy is also in place for passengers due to fly to Hong Kong until 29 February 2020.
Flexible rebooking policies are also in place for passengers who are due to travel to the US and will not meet entry requirements.
Cathay Pacific & Cathay Dragon have reduced the number flights from Hong Kong to mainland China by approximately 50%. Cathay Pacific has also modified the in-flight service on these routes with a reduced meal service and no amenities such as blankets and hot towels in all classes.
Cathay Pacific has also been required to cancel services from Hong Kong to Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino airports until 9 February 2020 due to a ban imposed by Italian authorities on flights from the region.
China Southern Airlines has suspended all flights from London Heathrow to Wuhan following the closure of the airport. Services from London Heathrow to Guangzhou, Sanya, Zhengzhou have continued to operate.
Delta has suspended all flights to mainland China until Thursday 30 April 2020.
Finnair has suspended routes from Helsinki to Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong airports from Friday 6 February 2020 to 29 February 2020 and Helsinki to Beijing Daxing, Guangzhou and Nanjing airports from 6 February 2020 to Sunday 29 March 2020.
KLM has suspended routes from Amsterdam Schiphol to Chengdu, Hangzhou & Xiamen until 29 February 2020. Routes from Amsterdam Schiphol to Beijing Capital and Shanghai Pudong airports are suspended until Saturday 8 February 2020.
Lufthansa Group Airlines (Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS) have suspended all flights to Beijing and Shanghai until 29 February 2020. Flights to Nanjing, Shenyang and Qingdao are suspended until 29 March 2020.
Qantas has brought forward the planned suspension of its service from Sydney to Beijing Capital to 9 February 2020. Its remaining route from Sydney to Shanghai Pudong is suspended from 9 February 2020 to 29 March 2020.
Qatar Airways has suspended all services to mainland China until further notice.
United Airlines has suspended all service to mainland China from 6 February 2020 to 28 March 2020.
Virgin Atlantic has suspended London Heathrow – Shanghai Pudong until Monday 17 February 2020. A flexible rebooking policy is also in place for passengers due to travel to Hong Kong and mainland China until 30 April 2020.
Also of note this week:
The Financial Times reports on the lessor known, but single largest, shareholder in the Connect Airways consortium that owns Flybe, Cyrus Capital Partners. (Financial Times)
Staying with Flybe, the airline has launched a new route from London City airport to Luxembourg. Flights will operate up to three times daily from Sunday 29 March 2020.
Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye argues that the airport should be prioritised for “Public Service Obligation” routes such as London – Newquay, which is to revert back to Gatwick at the end of March 2020. Airlines would argue with some justification that if Heathrow wants these routes it needs to show more flexibility on landing fees. (Sky News)
International Airlines Group has made its first management reshuffle following the appointment of Luis Gallego as CEO. Javier Sánchez-Prieto, currently CEO of Vueling, replaces Luis as CEO of Iberia. Marco Sansavini, currently Chief Commerical Officer Of Iberia, is appointed CEO of Vueling. Both Javier and Marco will take up their roles in late March 2020.
South African Airways has continued to undertake tactical cancellations throughout February to conserve cash with a wide range of cancellations to services within Africa as well as Johannesburg-Accra-Washington Dulles.
Late post publication updates:
[Reserved for updates throughout the day]
Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic have launched their combined transatlantic joint-venture. (London Air Travel)
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