Over the past several days we’ve seen a countless number of airlines cancel flights to China due to the Wuhan coronavirus.
The reasons given for cancelations have been all over the place, ranging from the safety of crew, to weak demand, to logistical challenges for staffing the flights. Well, Emirates is taking a different approach towards China capacity than most other airlines, per a directive from the UAE civil aviation authority.
Emirates suspending Guangzhou and Shanghai flights
Emirates has announced that they’re suspending flights from Dubai to both Guangzhou and Shanghai until further notice, as directed by the UAE authorities. Indeed, the UAE has required local airlines (including both Emirates and Etihad) to suspend flights to China, with the exception of flights to Beijing.
The decision to keep Beijing flights is an interesting one, and sure seems quite political, since no other justification has been given.
Emirates’ last flights to & from Guangzhou and Shanghai will be as follows:
- Dubai to Guangzhou on EK362, departing Tuesday, February 4
- Guangzhou to Dubai on EK363, departing Wednesday, February 5
- Dubai to Shanghai on EK304, departing Tuesday, February 4
- Shanghai to Dubai on EK305, departing Wednesday, February 5
Customers booked on these routes beyond those flights can choose to refund their tickets, or can reroute through Beijing or Hong Kong, with change fees and fare differences waived.
Emirates maintaining Beijing flights, but…
Emirates is continuing operations to & from Beijing as scheduled, though passengers will be subjected to additional medical tests when departing Beijing. Emirates is telling passengers to get to the airport eight hours before scheduled departure time. Yes, eight hours before departure. Wow.
It seems that the UAE will essentially require a mini-quarantine of passengers — presumably, they’ll be observing them for an extended period of time, or something. This seems like a logistical nightmare, and I’ll be very curious to see how they handle this.
No doubt politics has played a large role in how some airlines and countries have approached the Wuhan coronavirus. In the case of the UAE, Beijing flights are being maintained, but passengers are being told to show up at the airport eight hours before departure. Ouch. That doesn’t sound very fun for two daily A380 services.
I look forward to hearing some firsthand reports of how this works out. Do you get denied boarding if you only show up at the airport five hours before departure?