Delta will stop flying between Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and Seoul-Incheon (ICN) for the next two months cutting frequencies to South Korea from its other U.S. gateways as the spread of coronavirus threatens South Korea and elsewhere in Asia.
Delta is halting the relatively new nonstop flight between Minneapolis and Seoul as of Sunday, March 1 until at least May 1. Meanwhile, the airline will reduce its flights to Seoul from Detroit (DTW), Seattle (SEA), and Atlanta (ATL) to five times weekly over the same period – dropping from daily service.
By pausing direct flights from Minneapolis and reducing other frequencies, Delta can limit its expenditures and re-route passengers onto other flights as demand to fly to Seoul and onward throughout Asia plummets.
Delta confirmed in a statement that it was “temporarily reducing the number of weekly flights it operates between the U.S. and Seoul-Incheon (ICN).” The airline says it will accommodate affected passengers onto other flights, reschedule into May, or issue refunds.
Delta previously announced it would stop flying to China through April – the same period as this apparent pause in flights to Seoul.
While the vast majority of confirmed coronavirus cases have been on mainland China – more than 97% of the 80,000-plus cases – South Korea has been hit hard by the virus. It has the second-most amount of confirmed cases of the deadly virus outside of China, with more than 1,000 cases.
Earlier this week, Delta and fellow U.S. airlines began waiving change or cancellation fees for flights to South Korea while other international airlines halted flights to the country altogether.
Delta launched its nonstop flight from Minneapolis to Seoul recently in April 2019. The new route was part of a banner year for the Minneapolis airport in 2019, during which it launched three new nonstop international flights.
The toll of coronavirus continues to worsen for airlines. Halting flights from Minneapolis to Seoul while dropping other flights is just the latest blow.
Lead photo courtesy of Delta News Hub via Flickr