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United Slashes Springtime Flights to Asia Due to Coronavirus

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United is pausing several of its flights to Asia and cutting frequencies on other routes across the Pacific Ocean, a response to plummeting demand for flights to Asia amid the coronavirus outbreak.

CNBC is reporting United's drastic cuts to its flights to Asia. In all, almost all of the airline's flights to Asia are seeing some form of a cut. Here's a look at what's on the chopping block:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) is being canceled from March 8 through April 24
  • Houston-Intercontinental (IAH) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) is being canceled from March 8 through April 24
  • Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) is being canceled from March 8 through March 27, before Chicago to Tokyo-Haneda (HND) flights begin on March 28
  • Newark (EWR) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) drops from daily flights down to 5x weekly in April
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Osaka (KIX) drops from daily flights to 5x weekly in April
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) drops one of its twice daily flights from March 8 through April 24
  • San Francisco (SFO) to Seoul-Incheon (ICN) drops from daily flights (and twice daily in April) down to just 3x weekly from March 8 through April 30


United is also putting smaller aircraft on other routes like San Francisco (SFO) to Taipei (TPE) and Honolulu (HNL) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT). It all adds up to a massive reduction in flights to Asia as anxiety about the spread of coronavirus has hit new highs.

There were nearly 84,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of time of publication, according to data from Johns Hopkins. And while the vast majority have been in mainland China, other hotspots have started to emerge around the globe, including South Korea and Italy.

All three major U.S. carriers had already stopped flying to China and Hong Kong. But those moves took a turn for the worse this week, as Delta cut some flights to South Korea – including halting its new flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Seoul-Incheon (ICN) for the next two months.

In Europe, meanwhile, all three major carriers have issued travel waivers for many – if not all – flights into Italy.


Bottom Line

Things are starting to get ugly for airlines. And odds are, this will only get worse before it gets better.


Lead photo courtesy of byeangel via Flickr

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