Delta reduces flights to South Korea, postpones Incheon-Manila launch amid COVID-19 outbreak

Aviation Updates Philippines – U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines announced on Wednesday that it will be temporarily reducing the number of its flights to and from Seoul-Incheon (ICN), due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

CAPACITY REDUCTION. Delta will be reducing the number of flights between the United States and South Korea, and will postpone the launch of its flights between Seoul-Incheon and Manila. Photo by Airbus.

From February 29 to April 30, the carrier will suspend all flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Seoul-Incheon, while its daily services from Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle to Seoul-Incheon and vice versa will each be reduced to five flights a week.

Overall, the number of Delta flights between the United States and South Korea will be reduced from 35 to 15.

Meanwhile, the airline also announced that it will be delaying the launch of its planned daily flights between Seoul-Incheon and Manila. The flights, which were originally scheduled to begin on March 29, will now begin on May 1.

"The health and safety of customers and employees is Delta's top priority and the airline has put in place a number of processes and mitigation strategies to respond to the growing concern. Delta remains in constant contact with the foremost communicable diseases experts at the CDC, WHO and local health officials to respond to the coronavirus as well as ensure training, policies, procedures and cabin cleaning and disinfection measures meet and exceed guidelines," the airline said.

Delta assured those whose travel plans will be affected that they can change their flights to a later date free of charge or request for a full refund. Delta has also issued a similar change fee waiver for its flights to Beijing and Shanghai in China as well as a number of its flights to Italy, where nearly 500 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

South Korea, with over 1,500 confirmed cases and 13 deaths so far, has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Mainland China. Earlier this week, the country raised its infectious disease alert to the highest level due to the alarming increase in infections over the past several days.