Tue, Feb 11, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: Most cross-strait flights canceled

CHANGE OF PLANS:EVA Airways and China Airlines said they have publicized their flight schedules for this month, and would announce further changes next week

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

About 70 percent of cross-strait flights were canceled yesterday after the government last week announced that it would allow flights to only five airports in four Chinese cities due to the spreading 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak there.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Friday said that the restriction would last until April 29, citing a request from the Ministry of Health and Welfare to contain the disease.

The allowed destinations are: Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and Hongqiao International Airport, Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport and Chengdu Shaunglin International Airport, the transportation ministry said.

The transportation ministry estimated that the number of cross-strait flights this month would fall from 1,345 to 583.

Prior to the ban, Taiwan allowed flights to 50 Chinese cities, excluding Hong Kong and Macau.

Out of 148 cross-strait flights that were scheduled to operate yesterday, 103 were canceled, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said, citing its statistics.

Of the 1,204 cross-strait flights that were supposed to be available from Monday to Friday last week, 602 were canceled, it said.

The number of cross-strait flight passengers last week also fell 67 percent compared with the average passenger volume in December last year, it added.

Flights to Hong Kong and Macau were also affected by the outbreak as the number of confirmed cases in the territories continued to rise.

Last week, 419 of 1,127 scheduled flights to Hong Kong and Macau were canceled.

The number of passengers to Hong Kong and Macau fell 56 percent to about 80,000, compared with the average in December last year.

EVA Airways and China Airlines said they have adjusted and published their flight schedules for this month, adding that next week they would announce the changes in their flight schedules for next month and April.

The Tourism Bureau said that it would continue to enforce a temporary ban on group tours to China and transits via China to a third country until April 30.

Group tours to Hong Kong and Macau would also be suspended until March 31, including those transiting through the territories, it added.

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