American Airlines cancels Hong Kong flights as coronavirus fears slam airline capacity
- American Airlines has suspended flights to Hong Kong through February 20, citing falling demand amid coronavirus fears.
- Airlines globally - including American, Delta, and United - have cut service to mainland China and Hong Kong as the virus continues to spread.
- Hong Kong is not included in the US order banning entry by foreign citizens who have been in China within the past two weeks.
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American Airlines said on Tuesday that it was suspending service to Hong Kong through February 20.
The airline, which typically flies to Hong Kong from Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles, cited decreased demand as the coronavirus continues to spread. American previously suspended all of its mainland China routes.
Many international airlines have either reduced or cancelled service to China as travel demand to the region plummets due to coronavirus fears. Although demands to Hong Kong have decreased as well, the region is exempt from US emergency regulations quarantining citizens and permanent residents, and barring entry by foreign citizens, who have been to China within the previous 14 days.
Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways said on Tuesday that it would cut 90% of its flights to mainland China, and 30% of its capacity globally, due to the sharp fall in demand.
American Airlines pilots sued the carrier last week, demanding that the airline cancel flights to Hong Kong and China, and advised pilots to refuse to work the routes.
"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any updates as needed," a spokesperson for the airline said.
"We are pleased and proud that American Airlines is now leading with this safety decision to protect our passengers, fellow employees and communities during this uncertain time," a spokesperson for American's pilots union, Capt. Dennis Tajer, said in a statement provided to CNBC. "Continuing American's service to all of China, including Hong Kong is our collaborative goal but only when all stakeholders believe it's safe to do so."
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