The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) of the UAE has ordered that all flights to and from China, except those from the capital Beijing, be suspended from February 5, 2020.
The cancellation of all flights to Mainland China is in order to contain and control the spread of the coronavirus disease. The GCAA had already cancelled all incoming and outgoing flights to Wuhan - the city at the epicentre of the crisis - since January 23, 2020.
The flights to and from Beijing are the only exception and the GCAA has set in place new procedures for these flights. All passengers flying to the UAE from Beijing have to undergo 6-8 hours of comprehensive medical screening before boarding the flight to ensure the safety of fellow passengers.
The World Health Organisation's declaration of the coronavirus as a global emergency has sharply reduced bookings for global airlines that serve the Asia-Pacific region. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Oman Air and Saudia Airline have temporarily suspended some flights due to low travel demand.
The UAE’s national carrier, Emirates too earlier reduced its capacity on China routes last week, due to low demand amid growing concern about the disease. The airline replaced the Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft, with the Boeing 777 on the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou routes in order to better match capacity to demand and to reduce costs.
The UAE joins dozens of governments around the world that have banned people coming from China and have suspended flights to China because of the outbreak.