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American, Delta Announce More China Cancellations

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The numbers don’t lie to the U.S. State Department or the airlines.

So far, there have been 12,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 98% of them are in China.

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As a result, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced Saturday they would be canceling more flights to China.

Delta will suspend flights between the U.S. and China starting on Sunday, Feb. 2, until at least April 30, according to a press release.

That’s four days earlier than it had initially planned.

“Delta has made the decision to accelerate its plan to temporarily suspend flights between the U.S. and China to Feb. 2 following updated U.S. Health and Human Services screening protocols that will go into effect on Feb. 2,” the airline said in a statement. “The airline had previously announced a plan to suspend operations effective Feb. 6 but advanced that timeline based on new U.S. requirements that will deny entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China within the past two weeks, or subject to possible quarantine those U.S. citizens who have been in China’s Hubei province. Delta’s first priority is to assist its customers and take care of its crews. The airline is working with customers to make adjustments to their travel plans, leveraging codeshare partners where appropriate.”

At least 26 other countries have reported cases of the coronavirus, but the bulk emanates in China. To that end, American Airlines, which had already canceled all flights to mainland China starting Friday, confirmed Saturday that it had canceled flights to Hong Kong through Monday. Going forward, the airline “will make decisions about Hong Kong flights each day based on our operational situation.”

“While Hong Kong is a special administrative region, this virus does not recognize such a geopolitical wording,” said Captain Dennis Tajer, spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots. “Just look at the map. Hong Kong geographically is a landmass that’s part of China. The geopolitical issues, which we obviously respect, the virus doesn’t.”

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