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10,000 Chinese flights cancelled due to coronavirus

January 31, 2020

92% of scheduled flights to Wuhan between January 23 to 28 did not fly Airports with the highest numbers of […]

  • 92% of scheduled flights to Wuhan between January 23 to 28 did not fly
  • Airports with the highest numbers of unoperated flights include Wuhan, Beijing Capital and Guangzhou as airlines continue to suspend services

LONDON, UK, January 31 2020: Global travel and data analytics expert Cirium says nearly 10,000 flights have been cancelled since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.

The thousands of cancelations in the last week, come as authorities in China, and around the world, grapple with the spread of the virus.

Cirium statistics show that 9,807 scheduled flights within, to and from mainland China did not fly from January 23. The data spans the period from the day before the first reported flight cancelation to 28 January – the latest day for which figures are available.

Cirium analysis reveals 92% of all scheduled flights to and from Wuhan – the city at the epicenter of the latest outbreak – did not fly between January 23 and 28. Of the 2,606 flights that were set to fly in and out of the city, which is home to 11 million people, a total of 2,406 services did not take place over this period.

Peter Morris, Chief Economist at Ascend by Cirium, said: “Cirium data clearly shows the dramatic impact that coronavirus is having, with nearly 10,000 scheduled flights to, from and within China being suspended between January 23 and 28.

“While the industry is playing its part to help prevent the spread of the virus, the outbreak will inevitably cause significant disruption of schedules and travel patterns in the short and medium term.

“The precedent of the SARS outbreak indicates to us that the underlying demand for travel driven by GDP growth will in time produce a robust recovery. Cirium is closely monitoring the flights and traffic data to keep the market fully informed on developments.”

According to Cirium, a total of 90,607 domestic and international flights were scheduled to operate across mainland China over the six-day period, between January 23 and January 28, out of which 9,807 did not fly. This represents a sizeable 10.8% of the country’s overall scheduled flights.

Cirium’s data also shows that during this period Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines was the most heavily affected carrier by total number flights that did not operate. A total of 1,591 of its services were affected including 1,529 domestic and 62 international.

This was closely followed by China Southern Airlines with 1,510 flights, including 1,425 domestic and 85 international, which did not take off. Xiamen Airlines suffered 837 unoperated flights, including 828 domestic and nine international services.

In terms of percentage of flights that did not operate, the airline 9 Air – a subsidiary of Juneyao Airlines – was also hit hard. Approximately 77% (46 in total) of all the carrier’s planned international flights did not fly, in addition to 27% (140 in total) of its domestic services between January 23 and January 28.

The airports that experienced the highest number of scheduled flights that did not operate were, as expected, Wuhan (2,406 out of 2,606), as well as Beijing Capital (920 out of 9,113) and Guangzhou (829 out of 8,236), followed by Shanghai Hongqiao and Xi’an to a lesser extent.

The routes with the largest number of unoperated flights were all domestic, with the Beijing to Shanghai service topping the list. This was closely followed by routes to and from Wuhan, particularly the highly-popular Wuhan to Beijing route.

Cirium’s dedicated team of expert data analysts are continuing to assess the impact of the coronavirus on the domestic and international air travel industry in and out of China. Its insights are based on data from the Cirium Core – the number one aviation and air travel data analytics source.


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For media enquiries, please contact:

Rachel Humphries, Head of Brand and Creative at Cirium on

Paul Charles / Michael Johnson / Claire Simpson / Balint Brunner at The PC Agency via or +44 207 768 0001

Notes to editors

* All estimated passenger numbers are based on an 80 per cent passenger load factor.

‘In the above analysis we have used the comparison between the current schedules reported to us, and the recorded departures and arrivals at airports from our databases in the period.’

About Cirium

Cirium brings together powerful data and analytics to keep the world moving. Delivering insight, built from decades of experience in the sector, enabling travel companies, aircraft manufacturers, airports, airlines and financial institutions, among others, to make logical and informed decisions which shape the future of travel, growing revenues and enhancing customer experiences. Cirium is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.

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