Chinese airline Junayeo Air postpones Dublin-Shanghai flights due to Covid-19
Juneyao intended flying between Dublin and Shanghai on Thursdays and Sundays, with a stop in the Finnish capital Helsinki
People wearing masks in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China. Photograph: Reuters/Aly Song
More than 2,000 people have died from the virus, now called Covid-19, since it was first detected in China last year.
Junayeo Air confirmed late on Friday that it had decided to postpone the scheduled launch of its proposed Dublin-Shanghai service on March 29th until further notice.
The Shanghai-based carrier blamed the impact that the coronavirus has had on its passengers, and said the decision had been “very hard” for the company.
“We would like to sincerely apologise to and offer full refunds to all those passengers who had already booked tickets on the new service,” the airline’s statement added.
Large numbers of Chinese workers are staying at home until the outbreak has eased, stalling the world’s second biggest economy.
Juneyao pledged to return when the time was right. “We remain committed to the Irish market, and will continue to monitor the situation,” said the company.
The carrier noted that it was encouraged by early bookings of the flights from both China and Ireland.
Juneyao intended flying between Dublin and Shanghai with a stop in Finland’s capital Helsinki, a shorter route between the two cities as it goes over the Arctic Circle.
The airline planned to fly on Thursdays and Sundays, and intended using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the aircraft’s latest version, on the route.
Dublin Airport announced details of the new service in November.
Juneyao was the latest carrier to fly between the Republic and China. Cathay Pacific began a Hong Kong-Dublin service in 2018, but suspended that last year as bookings suffered following pro-democracy riots in the city.
Irish exporters and hospitality businesses believe direct flights between the two countries will aid their efforts to target newly prosperous Chinese consumers.
Around 25 million people live in Shanghai, which is a centre for finance and technology.