Qantas plane at Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, Australia
Qantas plane at Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, Australia

Qantas to keep flying to China despite virus

QANTAS is yet to join other major airlines in banning or scaling back flights to China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Global carriers including British Airways have suspended all flights to mainland China, while others have dramatically scaled back services as the deadly virus continues to spread.

RELATED: Follow updates on the coronavirus outbreak

Qantas flights into and out of mainland China are so far unaffected as the airline continues discussions with the Federal Government to run an evacuation mission for Australians stranded in China's virus-plagued Hubei province.

It comes as Queensland Health confirms a 44-year-old man is being tested for coronavirus after he travelled on a Tigerair flight from Melbourne to Brisbane on January 22.

Authorities are now trying to contact other passengers on flight TT566.

 

Qantas said it would continue to fly into China despite global airlines banning flights or scaling back services due to coronavirus fears.
Qantas said it would continue to fly into China despite global airlines banning flights or scaling back services due to coronavirus fears.

On Wednesday, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline was continuing to review its underperforming Sydney-Beijing route.

The airline had already announced plans to axe that service from March, but Mr Joyce suggested that could happen sooner.

"We continue to review that, continue to review the loads, and whether we look to do that earlier or keep it operating until that date," Mr Joyce told reporters at the opening of a new pilot training school in Queensland.

He also said it was too early to say what impact the coronavirus outbreak might have on the carrier's business.

He said the most similar comparison to coronavirus was the 2003 SARS epidemic in 2003 that cost the airline $55 million in lost earnings over a six to eight-month period and led it to cut some international capacity.

 

A woman and baby wear masks at Hong Kong High Speed Rail Station on January 29. Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
A woman and baby wear masks at Hong Kong High Speed Rail Station on January 29. Picture: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Virgin Australia does not operate flights to mainland China. But it does operate a daily flight between Sydney and Hong Kong and a daily flight between Melbourne and Hong Kong, with the latter service scheduled to end on February 11 - a decision made before the outbreak.

In a statement on Thursday, Virgin Australia said it was closely following advice from Australian medical authorities and the World Health Organisation about precautions to minimise risks from the virus.



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