DALLAS - American and Delta airlines announced they will suspend flights to China for the next few months because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
American Airlines said it is reducing its operations to and from the Chinese mainland beginning Friday through March 27 based on the United States Department of State’s recent level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory warning for China.
“Our teams are contacting affected customers directly to accommodate their needs. We will continue to evaluate the schedule for March 28 and beyond and make any adjustments necessary,” the airline said in a statement.
On Thursday, the Allied Pilots Association filed a lawsuit against American Airlines seeking to stop the airline’s U.S.-China flights due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Delta Airlines said all U.S. flights to China beginning Feb. 6 through April 30 have been suspended. Its last China-bound flight departing the U.S. will leave on Monday, with the last return flight back to the U.S. leaving China on Feb. 5.
“Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so,” the Atlanta-based carrier said in a statement.
Delta said affected customers with travel plans during this time can request a refund, re-accomodation to flights after April 30, or contact Delta’s customer service to discuss additional options.
China as of Friday morning counted 9,692 confirmed cases with a death toll of 213, including 43 new fatalities.
The vast majority of the cases have been in Hubei province and its provincial capital, Wuhan, where the first illnesses were detected in December. No deaths have been reported outside of China.
The virus has infected almost 10,000 people globally in just two months, a worrying sign of its spread that prompted the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency.
In the U.S., there have been five confirmed cases identified in Washington state, California, Arizona and Illinois.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.