Gulf states suspend more flights as COVID-19 creeps westwards

Published: 1 March 2020 - 5 a.m.
By: Aviation Business

Airlines in the Gulf have been impacted by flight suspensions introduced by governments after cases of coronavirus surged in the region in recent days.

Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) temporarily suspended all flights to the country from Dubai and Sharjah after it reported its first case of COVID-19 on Monday.

Gulf Air, Bahrain’s flag carrier, confirmed it had suspended flights to parts of the UAE and temporarily halted flights to and from Iraq and Lebanon amid the outbreak.

The suspension between Bahrain and the UAE impacted eight daily flights operated by Emirates alone and 17 daily flights by Gulf Air.

As cases of the virus spiked in Iran, the UAE also banned all passenger and cargo flights to cities in Iran for a week.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said that the suspension of flights could be extended if required.

"The decision is a precautionary measure undertaken by the UAE to ensure strict monitoring and prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19," the authority said.

The country has already suspended all flights to and from China, with the exception of Beijing.

Jordan’s flag carrier, Royal Jordanian, has also suspended flights from Amman to Rome after Italy reported a spike in the number of cases of the virus.

The airline, which is partly owned by the Jordanian government, has also cut half of its flights to Asia in a bid to keep Jordan virus-free.

CEO Stefan Pichler said that the company is monitoring the developments related to the virus at the stations served by its planes.

Kuwait, which has already stopped flights to Iran, on Monday suspended travel to South Korea, Thailand, Italy and Iraq.

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