United Airlines suspending U.S.-bound mainland China flights a day earlier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United Airlines said on Monday it will move up its temporary suspension of U.S.-bound flights from mainland China by one day to Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A United Airlines passenger jet takes off with New York City as a backdrop, at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, U.S. December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

The airline, which is the last U.S. airline still conducting China flights, said on Friday it planned to fly its last flight from China on Wednesday because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Delta Air Lines moved up its suspension of flights over the weekend. American Airlines ended its flights from mainland China on Friday. United said Monday it still plans to resume flights to and from China on March 28.

The Trump administration on Friday said it was barring nearly all foreign visitors who have been to China within the past 14 days to address the threat of the virus.

The White House said initially it was limiting flights from China and for Americans who have visited China within the last 14 days to seven major U.S. airports for enhanced screening: New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Honolulu, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was adding four additional airports to the seven that are allowed to receive flights from China -- Dallas, Detroit, Newark, and Washington Dulles.

The new rules mean airlines must now ask U.S.-bound passengers from all destinations if they have visited mainland China. Airlines are expected to scrutinize passports of travelers, and warned the new rules could require passengers to arrive even earlier for U.S.-bound flights.

American Airlines said Sunday it encouraged U.S.-bound passengers “to arrive at the airport three hours early as we expect this additional screening will lengthen the normal check-in process.”

The new rules do not impact cargo-only flights, DHS said. Many other nations are imposing similar restrictions.

DHS said Sunday none of the restrictions impact flights or visitors from Hong Kong or Macau.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Pullin