Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Thursday announced the suspension of its charter flights between Kalibo,Aklan and three cities in mainland China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

PAL said its decision to suspend its charter flights between Kalibo and Nanjing, Hangzhou and Shanghai is in line with the travel restriction being imposed by the government of the People’s Republic of China.

“Charter flights between Kalibo and parts of China (Nanjing/ Hangzhou / Pudong Shanghai) have been suspended, as the Chinese authorities implemented precautionary measures to restrict outbound tourist travel from mainland China,” the flag carrier said in a statement on Thursday.

“We continue to maintain our scheduled flights between Manila and Beijing, Pudong Shanghai, Guangzhou, Jinjiang, Xiamen, Hong Kong and Macau. We will advise if there are any changes based on our daily assessment of the situation and the slowdown in travel from China,” it added.

PAL Spokesperson Cielo C. Villaluna told BusinessWorld last Tuesday that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their operations was “not yet significant.”

PAL, which operates 69 weekly flights to and from China, has advised its passengers to postpone their flights if they feel unwell amid coronavirus outbreak.

Passengers with flights to China are also given the option to rebook and refund their tickets until Feb. 29.

The coronavirus outbreak started in Wuhan, China, with the death toll rising to 170, Reuters reported yesterday.

Some 7,711 people in China were also infected, on top of the 104 confirmed cases in other countries: Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Australia, Malaysia, United States, France, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland. — Arjay L. Balinbin