Beijing, March 12 (IANS) Chinese airline passenger numbers slumped by 84.5 per cent last month which has caused a 21 billion yuan ($3 billion) fall in revenue due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the Asian giant’s aviation regulator said on Thursday.

In a statement, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it will provide subsidies to Chinese airlines and give additional funding for international flights, the BBC reported.

Take-off and landing charges were also being reduced to help carriers cut costs during the downturn, while airport infrastructure spending will be increased by 100 billion yuan during 2020.

China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, has seen flights drastically cut inside the country as well as internationally since late January as the pandemic spreads across the globe.

The Asian giant’s biggest airlines include China Southern, China Eastern, Air China and Hainan Airlines.

Most international carriers have cancelled services to mainland China with several pushing these suspensions into April.

The airline industry was dealt another major blow on Thursday following US President Donald Trump’s travel ban between the US and Europe, excluding the UK, the BBC report said.

This ban, which would take effect on Friday midnight and remain in force for 30 days, was likely to hit American and European airlines, more than Asian-based ones.

As of Thursday, the overall coronavirus death toll in the Chinese mainland was 3,169, with a total of 80,793 cases. Globally, there were 123,825 confirmed cases, with 4,620 fatalities.




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