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Chinese airlines can no longer cover Hong Kong falloff

Yearslong expansion halted as coronavirus paralyzes domestic travel

An Air China Airbus A330-200 arrives at Nice Airport during the Air China's inaugural flight from Beijing to Nice, France in August 2019.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak have temporarily grounded the steady rise in passenger volumes by China's three major airlines.

The state-owned carriers initially had been able to absorb months of double-digit passenger losses on their Hong Kong routes. But forced quarantines and travel bans have virtually devastated the once-thriving domestic air business, leaving the three with little choice but to brace for a bumpy ride in the months ahead.

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