As the coronavirus continues to spread, the number of flight cancellations to and from China have increased to 200,000 according to Cirium. The flights have been proactively removed or cancelled. The new figure of 200,000 accounts for over two-thirds of China’s originally scheduled flights. This dates from when the authorities restricted travel in and out of Wuhan Tianhe International Airport from January 23rd to February 18th.
International carriers continue to cancel flights to Greater China
As the virus spreads and infection rates rise, airlines are increasingly cancelling most flights. Totally, 99,254 flights have not flown against the adjusted schedule between January 23rd and February 18th with domestic flights accounting for 89 per cent of that figure. Data also shows that more and more international carriers are continuing to cancel flights, especially those flying to Greater China.
The number of flights not flown equalled 9,807 with only domestic services affected at that stage between the dates of January 23rd and January 28th. Aside from cancelling, the decision of air carriers to proactively remove flights from future schedules highlights the growing concerns over the spread of the disease.
Richard Evans, senior consultant at Ascend by Cirium, said: “The International Air Transport Association had originally predicted global airline capacity to grow by 4.7 per cent in 2020, but in the current uncertain dynamic, are issuing revised guidance which indicates stagnation or slight contraction of the global market in 2020. For the first eight weeks of the year, Cirium’s schedules data shows that global capacity fell by 0.9 per cent compared to 2019. The next two weeks showing a continuing fall of around ten per cent year-on-year, led by Chinese airlines having removed over 60 per cent of their scheduled flights.”