Coronavirus Updates: How Is Hong Kong’s Air Travel Affected So Far?

The latest world news has been the escalation of the coronavirus spreading across mainland China. Obviously that’s incredibly tragic and hits close to home for me, but there’s no point dwelling on the misfortune on the situation. The coronavirus has hugely affected the travel industry and I thought I’d take the time to compile all of the effects of these changes specific to Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific has largely cut flights to China

The effects of the travel industry on Hong Kong haven’t been massive so far, though it’s worth taking precautions to stop the spread of the virus from affecting your travel plans. This is probably not a great time to visit most east Asian countries for travel – not especially because of the coronavirus, but also because of general national insecurity, e.g. lack of face masks, no groceries left on shelves, etc.

Cathay Pacific/Dragon’s mainland China flight cuts

  • Cathay Pacific’s Beijing and Shanghai flights are cut from 3 daily to 1-3 daily
  • Cathay Dragon’s Beijing flights are cut to 4-5 daily (7:30 AM and 6 PM flights cancelled for the week, 3 PM flight cancelled, 4 PM and 11 PM flights scaled back)
  • Cathay Dragon’s Shanghai flights scaled back from 11 to 3-4 daily (1 of these daily flights continues to operate to Shanghai Hongqiao)
  • Chengdu flights cut from 2x daily to 4-5x weekly
  • One of 2x daily Fuzhou flights cut
  • Guangzhou flights cut for the month and 1x daily flight cut after that
  • Guilin flights now operate 2x weekly instead of 4x
  • HaikouHangzhouNingboSanya and Wenzhou flights cut outright until March 28, and operate at reduced frequencies after that
  • Jinan flights reduced to 1x weekly (Tuesdays) – this morning’s flight wasd delayed 8 hours until 4 AM Wednesday morning (!)
  • Changsha, Chongqing, KunmingQingdao, Xi’an and Zhengzhou flights cut from daily to 3x weekly
  • Nanjing flights cut from 2x daily to 4x weekly
  • Nanning flights cut from 4x to 1x weekly
  • Wuhan flights cut (the airport’s closed) until March 31
  • Xiamen flights scaled back from 3x to 1x daily

All credit to Airlineroute

Major blows to Cathay Dragon flights with 22 destinations facing reduced services and 6 destinations cut outright

Other airlines’ flight cuts to Hong Kong

  • American Airlines, China Southern, Cebu Pacific, Eznis Airways, IndiGo, Jetstar Pacific, Lanmei Airlines, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Philippines AirAsia, S7 Airlines, Scoot, Shandong Airlines and United have stopped all flights to Hong Kong
  • Air Busan has cut Busan-Hong Kong flights from 7x to 3x weekly
  • Air China:
    • Beijing flights reduced from 5x to 2x daily (2:35 PM and 8:15 PM flights from Hong Kong/9:30 AM and 3:10 PM flights from Beijing continue)
    • Chengdu and Chongqing flights reduced from daily to 3x weekly
    • Dalian and Yinchuan flights cancelled
    • Tianjin flights reduced from daily to 4x weekly
  • Cambodia Airways no longer flies to Hong Kong from Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville
  • China Airlines has cut flights to 2 daily from Kaohsiung and 8-9 daily from Taipei (from 4 and 10 daily, respectively)
  • China Eastern:
    • Hangzhou flights reduced from 4x to 2x weekly
    • Kunming and Xi’an flights reduced from daily to 3x weekly
    • Shanghai flights reduced from 5-6 flights a day to 3-4 flights a day (one flight per day each cut from Hongqiao and Pudong)
    • Taiyuan flights cut outright
    • Wuxi flights cut from daily to 5x weekly
  • Eastar Jet has reduced Seoul flights from daily to 4x weekly
  • Emirates has cut EK386/387 (7:10 PM Dubai/7:35 AM Hong Kong flight) for most days between February 12 and March 12: 777 operates EK382/383 (3:15 AM Dubai/6 PM Hong Kong) from March 2 to March 11
  • Korean Air has cut flights from 5x to 3x daily (KE607/KE608, KE613/KE614 cut – these are the night/redeye and one of the morning/afternoon services out of Seoul and Hong Kong respectively)
  • Malaysia Airlines has cut 1 of 3 daily Hong Kong flights
  • Mandarin Airlines has cut 1 of 3 daily Hong Kong flights
  • Royal Brunei has cut flights from daily to 5x weekly
  • Shanghai Airlines has cut Zhanjiang services from daily to 4x weekly (Shanghai flight also moved from A330 to 737)
  • Shenzhen Airlines has cut 1 of 2 Quanzhou flights
  • Sichuan Airlines has cut Chengdu flights from daily to 3x weekly
  • Singapore Airlines has cut 1 of 5 flights (SQ860/863 cut)
  • Spring Airlines
    • 1 of 2 Shanghai flights cut
    • Yangzhou/Taizhou to Hong Kong flights cut outright
  • Thai AirAsia has cut Phuket flights from daily to 5x weekly
  • Thai Airways has cut Bangkok flights from 5x to 3x daily (TG628/629, TG606/607 cut)
  • Vietnam Airlines has cut all Hanoi flights and scaled their Ho Chi Minh flight back from 10x weekly to 1x daily

China Southern is one of 13 airlines that have cut all flights to Hong Kong

Bottom Line

The coronavirus epidemic is expected to spread and devastation on the aviation industry is to be expected. These are only the effects of air travel on Hong Kong, which has had 17 cases so far (the first death from the coronavirus happened in Hong Kong this morning). I can’t begin to imagine the havoc that the coronavirus has wreaked on China.

On the statistics front, it seems like most of the smaller airlines operating 3-4 weekly flights between their smaller hubs and Hong Kong (such as MIAT Mongolian and S7 airlines) have cut their flights outright, whereas most bigger airlines operating many frequencies between their megahubs and Hong Kong have cut 1-2 of their numerous flights. With a heavy heart I must warn that this number is only expected to increase.

If you’ve been affected by a flight cancellation you should be entitled to either a rebooking or a full refund. My prayers are with the bereaved and the affected, including my family, who are in Hong Kong at the moment. With that being said, it would be irresponsible not to reassure all readers that the coronavirus is statistically far less deadly than previous epidemics, including SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012.

On behalf of the YTHK team, I’d like to urge everyone to take care, keep your hands clean, wipe all surfaces, and wear a mask if necessary.

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