CoronaVirus hits launch of flights

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The planned launch of flights to China from Calcutta is being stalled and therefore the number of aircraft flying over the town on their way to and from China has dipped following the coronavirus outbreak therein country.

Calcutta airport officials said China Eastern Airlines, which operates flights between Calcutta and therefore the Chinese city of Kunming, had suspended its operations till February 29.

Dragonair, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, has suspended its Calcutta-Hong Kong service, officials said. The airline, however, claimed it had only reduced the frequency from six flights a week to 5.

IndiGo Airlines had earlier announced a suspension of its flights between Calcutta and Guangzhou, another Chinese city.

Officials of the airline on Monday said their plans to launch flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Calcutta had been stalled due to the situation in China. “We’ll wait and watch before going ahead with the plan for the new flights,” an IndiGo source said.

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An airport official said Dragonair had informed them about the suspension of its Calcutta-Hong Kong flights.

However, the airline said in a statement: “In view of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak and also a major drop in market demand, we just announced capacity cuts across our network. Basis of the demand, there has been capacity rationalization for our services from Calcutta into Hong Kong. From six flights per week, effective February 9 until March 29, we’ll be operating five flights per week. Our onward flights from Hong Kong into China have also been rationalized by 90 percent.”

The number of overflying flights handled by Calcutta’s traffic control has dipped since the start of this month. as per the officials, 42 flights bound for China and another 52 leaving the country would fly over Calcutta.

The number has been dwindling since February first week, officials said. On Sunday, only five flights out of China and 15 bound for the country flew over Calcutta.

Flights to other countries are also getting affected because passengers are canceling travel plans, said airline officials and tour operators.

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Flights to Thailand aren’t much affected, said aviation industry sources.

Tour operators said there have been no bookings for China now. “Before the outbreak, China had a requirement for all segments of travelers, including leisure and business,” said Anil Punjabi, chairman, east, Travel Agents Federation of India.

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Also Read, Kashmir police files case against Airlines and Travel Agents for selling group tickets

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