NAIROBI, Kenya – China Southern Airlines have refuted claims that it has halted direct flights between Nairobi and China.
This is after a section of the media said the airline was cancelling all its four direct flights over coronavirus fears that had by sunday infected 37,198 people in China alone.
An official of China Southern Airlines said the airline was only suspending flights on its two routes for 14 days starting February 11 to February 24. The official however said the airline would resume flying once a week starting February 25 to March 25.
“We are only suspending the flights from 11th to 24th to resume thereafter. We have already communicated with our customers.”
The airline operates direct flights on the Nairobi-Changsha route on Sundays and Wednesdays and the Nairobi-Gaungzhou route on Mondays and Fridays.
The Nairobi-Changsha route, which targets people doing business in the Chinese state, was launched in June 2019 to expand China’s base in the region while the direct flight between Nairobi and Guangzhou was launched in 2015.
Passengers will have the option of using airlines with connecting hubs in Africa, the Middle East and Asia to travel to China.
Africa Tembelea understands that the decision by China Southern Airlines and Kenya Airways follows the decision by a host of other airlines to suspend or reduce flights frequency into China.
The cancellation of the direct flights is set to further escalate supply chain disruptions from the lockdown of the “world’s factory”. Coronavirus has also seen China order the closure of most of the factories in the affected regions, a move that is also impacting on trade not only in Kenya but the entire East African regionl.