BEIJING — Chinese airlines are cutting flights to the Republic of Korea (ROK) as the outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) reduces travel demand to the country.
Air China will cut the number of flights linking Beijing and Seoul to 21 a week from 24. The cut will run from June 13 to the end of August.
China Eastern Airlines will cut the number of its Kunming-Seoul flights from five to two a week between June 15 and June 30. From July 1 to the end of August, there will be three flights a week.
Other companies including China Southern Airlines, Shandong Airlines, Capital Airlines and budget carrier Spring Airlines have either cut or suspended flights to ROK.
The ROK surpassed Thailand and Japan to become the most favored destination for Chinese outbound tourists in 2014 with 6.1 million visitors.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China on June 12 ordered airline companies to strengthen education of crew members about the coronavirus and enhance disinfection after passengers disembark.
Meanwhile, the CAAC requires airline companies to immediately report to local hygiene and quarantine authorities in case of suspected MERS cases.
ROK reported one more death on June 14, bringing the death toll to 15. The total number of people infected with the virus has increased to 145.