Air Canada cancels some flights to China as travelers shaken by the coronavirus epidemic postpone or abandon their travel plans.
Canada’s largest airline flies 33 times a week to China and says the capacity reduction is relatively small.
Air Canada states that affected customers will be notified and will be offered other travel options.
Cancellations occur while the airline allows passengers to change their bookings for direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai free of charge, if they are scheduled between the end of January and mid-February.
Air Canada is also waiving the reservation modification fees for flights that transit through a partner airline to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus, until the end of March.
The Montreal carrier has seen its shares drop by about 10% since the authorities confirmed, on January 20, the human transmission of the disease, which has since left 132 dead and infected more than 6,000 people.
Other air carriers around the world have also changed their operations to adjust to the coronavirus. British Airways has suspended all flights to China and American Airlines has suspended flights to and from Shanghai and Beijing.
These carriers have joined several Asian airlines which have suspended or significantly reduced their services due to fears of the new virus.
Air India and South Korean airline Seoul Air have also suspended all flights to the country, and Indonesian Lion Air plans to do the same. Other carriers, including Finnair, Cathay Pacific , based in Hong Kong, and Jetstar Asia, based in Singapore, have cut service significantly.
In addition to shaking up travel, this decision will increase concerns about the broader economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Hotels, airlines, casinos and cruise lines are among the industries that suffer the most immediate repercussions, particularly in countries near China.