Published on Monday, February 24, 2020

Coronavirus causes 200,000 flight cancellations to, from and within China

The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the cancellation of more than 200,000 flights so far, according to flight data firm Cirium.

The figure represents over two thirds of scheduled flights to, from and within China since travel restrictions were first imposed in Hubei province in late January.

Chinese airlines have scrapped more than 60% of their scheduled flights while numerous international carriers have suspended most flights in and out of China.

Unsurprisingly, Wuhan Tianhe International Airport is hardest hit with 94% of flights cancelled compared to the pre-outbreak schedules.

It is also increasingly impacting countries which rely heavily on the outbound China travel market.

Cirium said: "We are also now seeing impact outside of China. Countries with the biggest exposure to outbound Chinese leisure travellers, such as Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia have seen schedules cut by 70% or more on services to China and are starting to see further reductions on non-Chinese routes.

Richard Evans, senior consultant at Ascend by Cirium, added: "It's difficult to comment on the anticipated recovery of the aviation industry off the back of the outbreak, as the number of cases is still increasing currently and as the data shows more airlines are cancelling and removing flights from schedules."

It believes the plunge in travel demand could impact global GDP, although based on the SARS experience, the industry could rebound within a few months.

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