Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 February 2020

Emirates switches to smaller planes on some China flights

The Dubai-based airline will swap Airbus A380s for Boeing 777 jets on some routes to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

An Emirates plane lands at Dubai International Airport. The aircraft changes will start from February 4 and run until March 1. Reuters 
An Emirates plane lands at Dubai International Airport. The aircraft changes will start from February 4 and run until March 1. Reuters 

Dubai's flagship airline Emirates will switch to smaller Boeing 777 widebodies on some of its flights serving mainland China starting from February.

The carrier will swap the larger Airbus A380 double-decker planes for Boeing 777 widebodies on routes between Dubai and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, Emirates said in a statement on Monday. The changes will start from tomorrow, February 4 through to March 1.

“As part of its regular operational review, Emirates will deploy its Boeing 777 aircraft on routes between Dubai and Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, instead of A380s," it said. "Emirates apologises for any inconvenience caused.”

The UAE has reported its fifth case of a person infected with the coronavirus respiratory disease, which originated in the central Chinese province of Wuhan, but has not imposed any travel bans or flight limits.

Restrictions on travel to and from China have widened globally to limit the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus. The World Health Organisation has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, but added that trade and travel restrictions are not necessary.

Emirates said the reduction in capacity for its flights from Dubai to Guangzhou will be effective from February 4-29. Flights from Guangzhou to Dubai will be operated using Boeing 777 jets starting February 5 to March 1.

Emirates flights from Dubai to Shanghai will see changes from February 10-29, while the return flights will operate with the smaller widebodies starting February 11 to March 1.

Reduced capacity on Emirates flights from Dubai to Beijing will run from February 10-29 and on the return flights from February 11 to March 1.

The exceptions are flights EK302 and EK303 between Dubai and Shanghai, as well as flights EK306 and EK307 between Dubai and Beijing, which will continue to be operated by an A380 aircraft.

Etihad Airways said on Monday its flights from Abu Dhabi to mainland China and Hong Kong continue to operate normally, in line with the WHO's recommendation.

However, Etihad’s connecting flight which allows passengers to travel on from Beijing, China to Nagoya, Japan, has been temporarily suspended between February 3-29 "due to low travel demand", a spokeswoman said.

Qatar Airways became the first Middle East carrier to halt flights to China on Saturday and was later followed by Oman Air and Saudi Arabian Airlines.

Egypt Air suspended flights to mainland China "until the situation stabilises", according to its website. The airline connects to Hangzhou, Beijing and Guangzhou. Hangzhou flights have been suspended since February 1 while Beijing and Guangzhou will be put on hold from February 4. Morocco's Royal Air Maroc has suspended direct flights to China until February 29.

Updated: February 3, 2020 02:15 PM

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