American Airlines and United have announced they will extend the suspension of flights to and from mainland China and Hong Kong through April due to a dip in demand following the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

Many major carriers around the world began cancelling flights in January and February as the coronavirus, now officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation. While most have only announced suspensions through the end of March, American Airlines said demand on its routes from Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles has dropped since the outbreak.

Flights to mainland China are suspended until 24 April. Services to Hong Kong from Dallas-Fort Worth will remain cancelled until 23 April and until 24 April for flights from LAX.

The cancellations affect all services to and from Shanghai Pudong, Beijing Capital International and Hong Kong airports.

Passengers whose flight has been cancelled can request a full refund if they choose not to rebook.

Meanwhile, United will cancel flights to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Hong Kong until 24 April. The airline said it “will continue to monitor the situation in China and evaluate our schedule as we remain in close contact with the CDC and other public health experts around the globe”.

There have now been more than 40,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide, eight of which are in the UK. The death toll in China stands at more than 1,000.

The outbreak is having an impact on business travel, with 80 per cent of travel managers saying they believe it is likely that employees will change their plans around work trips out of fear of the virus.

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