TIME Infectious Disease

British Airways Cancels West Africa Flights Amid Ebola Outbreak

A British Airways aircraft taxis past ot
A British Airways aircraft at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport in west London, on July 30, 2010. BEN STANSALL—AFP/Getty Images

Flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia have been suspended due to a "deteriorating public health situation"

British Airways has suspended flight service to two West African countries that have been at the center of the ongoing Ebola outbreak, the carrier announced Tuesday.

The airline canceled all scheduled flights from London to Sierra Leone and Liberia “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries,” British Airways said in a statement.

Passengers on those flights would be offered full refunds or the opportunity to rebook flights after Aug. 31, when flight service is expected to resume.

“The safety of our customers, crew and ground teams is always our top priority and we will keep the route under constant review in the coming weeks,” said company spokesperson Caroline Titmuss.

British Airways runs four flights a week between London Heathrow Airport and the affected countries. The move comes on the heels of similar decisions by Emirates Airlines and Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest carrier, to suspend flight service to affected countries, where 729 people have died and a further 1,323 have been suspected or confirmed of contracting the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

British Airways said it would continue monitoring the outbreak before going forward with its decision to resume service.

“This is an evolving situation,” Titmuss said, “and we’ll just make decisions based on the information that’s coming from the World Health Organization.”

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