American Airlines is canceling all flights to mainland China as of Friday because of the growing impact of coronavirus, joining Delta, which also cut routes Friday.
Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines said Friday it is canceling flights through March 27 to Beijing and Shanghai, but will keep flights to Hong Kong.
American had already canceled flights from Los Angeles to Beijing and Shanghai between Feb. 7 and March 29, but it extended that to include routes from DFW, too.
The announcement came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Thursday night that the State Department was increasing the travel advisory for China to “Level 4-Do Not Travel.” The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a Public Health Emergency.
There is deepening concern over the spread of the coronavirus, which is in some ways a mystery to health agencies but has killed 213 people worldwide with nearly 10,000 confirmed cases, according to CNBC.
Delta also said it would suspend flights from April 6 to Feb. 30. Its last China-bound flight on Delta from the U.S. will leave Monday.
“Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so,” Delta said in a statement.
United Airlines has also significantly cut its flights to China, and foreign carriers British Airways and Germany’s Lufthansa have suspended all flights to China.
On Thursday, the Allied Pilots Association representing American Airlines pilots sued the company to stop flights to China and directed its members to turn down work assignments to fly to China. A hearing was scheduled in that case for Friday morning.
Flight attendants at American have also been calling for the airline to take action on China service. Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said they are pleased American is suspending China routes.
“The health and safety of our crew members and customers are always our main concern,” Bassani said in a statement. This concern is magnified with the coronavirus, a fast-moving, possibly deadly virus that has become a worldwide concern.”
American only flies to China from DFW and Los Angeles International Airport from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The CDC has started coronavirus screening for all passengers inbound from China at both those airports.
American is the only airline that flies between DFW and China.
On Friday morning, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on the U.S. to implement a full travel ban to China.
“Given the severity of the coronavirus in China and its rapid spread across the region, as well as the mounting public fear, it’s imperative that this disease is contained,” Cruz said in a statement. “The administration should take every precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States, including temporarily halting flights to and from China and implementing additional screening at all U.S. airports.”
Several countries such as Pakistan and Italy have also canceled flights to and from China.
There have been six confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, including a human-to-human transmission in Chicago. All other cases were passengers that had recently traveled to China.
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