January 30, 2020 / 2:02 PM / a month ago

British Airways suspends flights to mainland China for a month

FILE PHOTO: British Airways logos are seen on tailfins at Heathrow Airport in west London, Britain May 12, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Files/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British Airways said on Thursday that all its flights to mainland China had been cancelled for a month, in a further sign of the impact that the outbreak of a new coronavirus is having on global travel.

A spokeswoman said all flights to Beijing and Shanghai had been suspended until the end of February.

BA’s suspension of flights began on Wednesday, but initially it had only been in place until Friday while the airline assessed the situation.

Fears over the spread of the flu-like virus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, are growing as the death toll rose to 170 and countries warned their citizens over travel to China.

Britain’s Foreign Office on Tuesday advised against “all but essential” travel to mainland China.

Direct BA flights to Hong Kong are not affected.

BA’s move followed some flight cancellations to China by U.S. airline United Airlines which blamed a sharp fall in demand. Iberia, part of International Airlines Group (IAG) along with BA, said on Wednesday it was temporarily suspending all flights to Shanghai, its only mainland Chinese destination.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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