Etihad flights to Shanghai suspended for a further week after passengers test positive for Covid-19

Flights between Abu Dhabi and the city are grounded for another seven days, say Chinese authorities

FILE PHOTO: An Etihad plane stands parked at a gate at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., March 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
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Etihad Airways flights to Shanghai have been suspended for another week, the Shanghai city government said on Tuesday.

The Abu Dhabi airline will not fly to the Chinese city again until Monday, August 31, after more passengers registered positive coronavirus test results.

Flight EY862 landed at Shanghai Pudong International Airport on August 15. Five passengers had positive test results leading to an extended flight suspension for Etihad from Chinese authorities.

The airline's Shanghai service was already facing a one-week suspension from August 17, after six passengers arrived on a flight earlier this month with positive test results.

Now, the national airline of the UAE will not be allowed to operate flights to Shanghai until at least August 31, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The National has reached out to Etihad for an update, however, the airline previously strengthened its regulations for passengers flying to China.

PCR test results within 48 hours of flights

A medical worker wearing protective gear collects a swab from a passenger of a flight from Valencia, Spain, during a COVID-19 test, at Rome's Ciampino airport, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.  Italy's health minister issued an ordinance requiring the tests for all travelers arriving in Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta or Spain. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
Passengers flying to Shanghai must show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result issued within 48 hours of departure from Abu Dhabi. AP

All travellers to Shanghai must show a negative Covid-19 PCR test result issued within 48 hours of departure from Abu Dhabi. This differs from Etihad's regulations for other destinations, where travellers can typically show results issued 96 hours before a flight. Children must also be tested on flights to China.

Etihad isn't the only airline to be hit with a flight suspension to China. The country's aviation authority has set out strict rules that include putting a ban on airlines that fly into the country with passengers showing positive coronavirus test results.

One-week flight suspensions are handed out to airlines where passengers test positive and if 10 passengers on the same flight show positive results, the airline will be suspended for four weeks.

The authority has also set out an incentive programme. If all inbound passengers on an airline have negative test results for three weeks in a row, the airline can increase flight capacity from the current permitted allocation of one flight per week to two flights per week.

Several other airlines are also facing suspension from flying to China. These include China Eastern Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines, which is currently facing a four-week ban.