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Lao Airlines reduces flights to Chinese destinations

Lao Airlines has suspended charter flights to five cities in China after Chinese authorities prohibited its citizens from leaving the country in an attempt to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
Charter flights from Vientiane to Changzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai, and from Luang Prabang to Shanghai and Jinghong have all been suspended.
Next week, the national flag carrier will also start reducing scheduled flights to China – the airline’s main market - the company’s President Bounma Chanthavongsa was quoted as saying by the Lao News Agency.

Meanwhile, most flights to Laos operated by Chinese airlines have been suspended.
Mr Bounma said Chinese tour operators submitted a letter to Lao Airlines requesting the suspension of charter flights after they were instructed to cancel outbound package tours.
However, charter flights from Vientiane to Changsha and Chengdu and from Luang Prabang to Changsha have not yet been suspended as Chinese tour operators have not requested that this be done.
“We are monitoring these three routes,” Mr Bounma said. It was reported previously that Lao Airlines has 21 direct flights to China each week. From Vientiane seven flights go to Kunming, three to Guangzhou, two to Changsha, three to Chengdu, one to Changzhou, one to Shanghai, one to Wenzhou, and two to Jinghong. There is also a flight from Luang Prabang to Changsha.
Lao Airlines could not be reached for comment on whether all of these sectors are still operating as normal.
Originating in a fresh market where wildlife is traded in December last year in Wuhan, Hubei province, the virus has reportedly spread to every region in mainland China and beyond. At least 18 countries were reported to have suspected and confirmed cases.
The rapid surge in the number of suspected and confirmed cases and deaths has prompted global warnings to avoid trips to outbreak areas.
The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus rose to 9,692 on the Chinese mainland as of January 30, including 213 deaths, the China Daily reported.
Director General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak has become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, according to Xinhua.

By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update February 3, 2020)

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