The Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilots' union has asked the carrier to scrap flights to Hong Kong and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou which are at the centre of global health scare due to the SARS virus, a spokesman said.
The Air Line Pilots Association (Alpa-S) are also proposing to management that there should be no overnight stays for crew members in Beijing and Shanghai.
"We urge SIA to do that (suspend flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou) not just for the crew but for the nation as well," union spokesman Frank John said.
"It's better we don't go to Hong Kong and Guangzhou," he told the financial news service AFX-Asia.
SIA spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.
The World Health Organisation issued an unprecedented advisory on Wednesday, warning travelers to defer non-essential trips to Hong Kong or Guangdong -- of which Guangzhou is the capital -- because of the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Hong Kong and Guangdong are the hardest hit by SARS, an unusual form of pneumonia that could be potentially fatal and has no known antidote yet.
SARS is believed to have originated in Guangdong in November, spread to Hong Kong in February and from there to nearly two dozen countries through airline travel, killing more than 80 people and infecting some 2,400 others.
SIA said on Wednesday it plans to cut flights to Hong Kong by 37 percent -- from 41 to 26 a week.
Weekly services to Guangzhou will be cut to five from seven. All services to Kaohsiung will be suspended from April 15.
I think they're WAY overreacting. The disease that's plaguing Singapore, HK
, China and Canada is not SARS. It is paranoia, fear and ignorance.
Singaporeans also don't seem to realise that they are the second worst affected area for SARS outside the greater China area. (No Singapore is NOT in China!) Yes, it has largely been contained here and it has not been spreading to the general community, bbut it still doesn't change that fact. How would they feel if other carriers suspended flights to SIN
totally? So far, I haven't heard of any flight suspensions to SIN
yet but I don't know if they'll come rolling in (excluding SIA, of course!!)
The survival rate for SARS is 96%. It is not as contagious as people say it is, and wearing masks doesn't help. So far, no one has caught it just by taking public transport, going to the cinema or shopping. Yet the slightest cough in Singapore or HK
now attracts stares.
I urge everyone in Singapore and Hong Kong to view this rationally. As of now, 99.999% of Singaporeans and Hong Kongers are free from SARS. Of those who have SARS, more than 60% have recovered and have been discharged.
Please guys, don't let fear, ignorance and paranoia take a hold of your life!