March 11, 2020 / 6:05 PM / a month ago

Delta Air extends suspension of U.S.-China flights through May 31

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker guides a Delta Air Lines Airbus A319-100 plane on the tarmac at LAX in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) said on Wednesday it was extending the suspension of all flights between the United States and China from April 30 to May 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It also extended the suspension for some destinations in South Korea and Japan to the same date and said it will reduce planned capacity by 15%.

The airline sector has been hit hard by the rapidly spreading coronavirus, which has forced tourists and businesses to cancel trips, sparking a string of steps by carriers to tackle the impact of the outbreak.

Delta said it has frozen hiring, offered voluntary leave option to staff and was planning retire older aircraft ahead of time to limit the fallout of a drop in net booking by as much as 25% to 30%.

Shares of the company fell as much as 8.2% to $41.73, in line with the broader selloff in the sector on Wednesday. The stock has fallen nearly 30% so far this year.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Ramakrishnan M.

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