Taipei China Airlines and EVA Airways, Taiwan's two leading carriers, said Tuesday they will cut some of their flights on the Philippines route, after the government there extended its travel restrictions to Taiwan due to the coronavirus epidemic.
CAL said it will cancel flights CI701 and CI702 between Taipei and Manila, and CI711 and CI712 between Kaohsiung and Manila, with effect from Wednesday.
The carrier said it will try to maintain at least one round trip flight, CI703/CI704, between Taipei and Manila per day and will make further adjustments based on bookings.
EVA, meanwhile, has canceled flights BR277 and BR278 between Taipei and Manila, with effect from Wednesday, while all its other flights will operate as usual.
Earlier in the day, the three Philippine carriers operating in Taiwan decided to cancel all of their flights between the two countries.
Philippines AirAsia said it had canceled all of its Taiwan Philippines flights, from Feb. 11 to March 28, in support of the efforts by the Philippine government to manage the risks of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV).
Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines also said all of their flights between the two countries had been canceled, effective Tuesday, until further notice.
On Feb. 2, the Philippine government banned the entry of anyone from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and people of other nationalities who have been to any of those four places in the 14 days preceding arrival, with the exception of Filipino citizens. It also barred Filipinos from traveling to any of those four destinations.
Late Monday night, the Philippines Civil Aeronautics Board made it clear that the ban included Taiwan, in keeping with Manila's one China policy.
According to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, about 540 Taiwanese travelers in 21 tour groups are currently in the Philippines.
The bookings of some 1,680 Taiwanese tourists in 83 groups have been hampered by the travel ban, the bureau said, citing numbers valid up Feb. 25.
As of Tuesday, 18 cases of the novel coronavirus (2019 nCoV) had been confirmed in Taiwan, while three cases and one death from the virus had been recorded in the Philippines.
The overwhelming majority of the 43,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths from the virus have occurred in mainland China, where the outbreak began in December.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel