Tampa International braces for effects of coronavirus after airlines cancel flights

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – All major U.S. airlines have suspended flights to and from China. Delta, United, and American Airlines are all suspending flights. While Tampa International Airport has no direct flights coming in from China, officials are worried about the effects to Tampa Bay.

As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread throughout China, the World Health Organization is declaring a global emergency.

American said it will stop flying to China starting Friday and running through March 27. Delta plans to wait until Feb. 6 to suspend China operations to help travelers there leave the country, then stop the flights through April 30.

Some travelers are confused over corona-virus.

“I think it’s another form of the flu. That they don’t have a cure for it, but they don’t have a cure for the common flu either,” says traveler Ryan Ledbetter.

Others are cautious.

“If you’re going to travel worldwide you have to be careful about it and know what implications there are at this point,” says Ugonna Anyaugo, another traveler going through TIA.

J.P. Morgan analysts say United could lose the most economically with 12% of their revenue tied to the region. Even though Tampa International Airport has no direct flights coming from China the coronavirus could affect our economic health.

“It’s going to impact the travel industry in many ways. We just don’t know what that’s going to look like yet. We will in about another month or two,” says Emily Nipps, a TIA spokesperson.

The closest international airport to Tampa Bay with additional screening in place for travelers is Miami International.

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