American Airlines suspends Hong Kong flights amid coronavirus outbreak

Key Points
  • American Airlines is canceling its Hong Kong service until Feb. 20 as coronavirus spreads.
  • All U.S. airlines and dozens of other carriers have announced cuts to mainland China service.
  • The American Airlines pilots' union sued the carrier to end Hong Kong service.
American Airlines Boeing 777, departs Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California.
FG | auer-Griffin | Getty Images

American Airlines on Tuesday suspended its Hong Kong service, halting flights to and from Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles through Feb. 20 citing a drop in demand as the coronavirus spreads.

The union that represents some 15,000 American Airlines pilots had sued the carrier last week to end China flights, including service to Hong Kong. American last week suspended its mainland China flights through March 27 but intended to continue flying to Hong Kong. Delta and United took similar steps.

The Allied Pilots Association had advised its members to refuse trips to Hong Kong due to concerns about coronavirus, a union spokesman said. The virus has sickened more than 20,000 people and killed more than 400 in China, according to local health officials. The World Health Organization said there's been more than 150 coronavirus cases in about two dozen countries outside of China. Last week, WHO declared the virus a global health emergency.

A doctor lays out steps travelers can take to protect themselves from coronavirus
Doctor lays out steps travelers can take to protect themselves from coronavirus

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make any updates as needed," an American Airlines spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The union applauded the decision. "We are pleased and proud that American Airlines is now leading with this safety decision to protect our passengers, fellow employees and communities during this uncertain time," union spokesman and American Airlines Boeing 737 Capt. Dennis Tajer said in a statement, adding that the airline "heard the demands of pilots." "Continuing American's service to all of China, including Hong Kong is our collaborative goal but only when all stakeholders believe it's safe to do so."

Airlines across the globe have been suspending service to and from China as the deadly coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

United later on Tuesday announced it would suspend service to Hong Kong because of a "continued drop in demand," cutting the region off from US flights. While the Trump administration's travel restrictions exclude citizens and residents who were in Hong Kong, airlines say demand has dropped sharply, prompting the suspension of service.

Read the latest coronavirus updates from CNBC's global team here.