FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Earlier this week American Airlines greatly reduced the number of flights transporting passengers to and from China. Today the company shutdown all Chinese inbound and outbound traffic because of the coronavirus threat.
The Fort Worth-based carrier said they made the decision after the U.S. Department of State increased the China Travel Advisory to a Level 4 — Do Not Travel.
The airline issued a statement that said, in part:
“American is suspending its operations to and from the Chinese mainland beginning today through March 27.
We will continue to evaluate the schedule for March 28 and beyond and make any adjustments as necessary.”
Officials with the company said teams are contacting affected customers directly and will assist in anyway they can to accommodate their travel needs.
The first flight canceled at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Friday morning was Flight 127 to Shanghai that was set to leave at 10:45.
The suspension of flights comes one day after the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing some 15,000 AA pilots, filed a lawsuit against the carrier claiming travel to China was putting flight crews and passengers at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
Delta Air Lines also temporarily canceled all of their China flights. The Atlanta-based carrier is shutting its U.S.-China flights beginning Feb. 6 through April 30. The company said, “Between now and Feb. 5, Delta will continue to operate flights to ensure customers looking to exit China have options to do so.”
The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a public health emergency on Thursday.
As of Friday, the outbreak had infected more than 9,700 people, most of them in mainland China, and killed at least 213, all in China.