British Airways appears to be suspending flights from Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney in early April, as countries introduce travel bans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Attempting to make a shadow booking on Tuesday March 31, Business Traveller found Hong Kong flights (with limited availability) from April 1 – 4, Singapore flights from April 1 – 8 (excluding April 4), and Sydney flights from April 1 – 8 (excluding April 3 and with limited availability in economy).
The carrier told Business Traveller it was a “fast moving situation” and it could not comment on its future schedule.
It has continued to operate flights from Sydney to Heathrow via Singapore following the introduction of a ban on all non-citizens entering or transiting through Singapore.
Its aircraft have been refuelling and picking up new crew and catering, but passengers have not been able to disembark on the long journey.
Hong Kong has also barred entry to all non-residents.
The British High Commission in Australia confirmed that BA was ending flights from Sydney after April 8. It has also issued advice for any Britons trying to get home from the country, highlighting flights with Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines.
The Foreign Office has advised all British travellers overseas to make their way home via commercial air routes as soon as possible.
However, tens of thousands of people are estimated to be stuck in countries that have introduced flight bans.
Business Traveller has received messages from people in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Russia and Turkey who say they are struggling to get home.
Yesterday the Foreign Office pledged £75 million to charter rescue flights from countries where commercial flights are no longer available.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, Jet2 and other carriers are set to be part of the effort.
British Airways has now suspended all operations from Gatwick and London City. Virgin Atlantic is flying a skeleton fleet from Heathrow after dropping all flights from Gatwick, Belfast, Manchester and Glasgow, while Easyjet and Jet2 have suspended all flights.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today:
“People will learn about the flights in coming days and weeks.
“We will go to a country, try to give warning of that rescue flight, encourage booking through a booking channel via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and encourage them to book, giving priority to the old and vulnerable in situations where there are a lot of people.
“They will book through the travel management company that the government has put in place.”
The current advice is to visit the website or social media pages for the British Embassy or High Commission for the country anyone stranded overseas is in.
British Airways has already put on some rescue flights for Britons in Peru.
Other counties have also been putting on rescue flights to repatriate citizens.