Ebola: BA suspends flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone

British Airways planes Image copyright AFP
Image caption BA operates four flights a week from Heathrow to Sierra Leone

British Airways has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of August amid concerns over the Ebola outbreak.

The airline normally has four flights a week from London Heathrow to Freetown in Sierra Leone, with a connection to Monrovia in Liberia.

BA said the move was due to the "deteriorating public health situation" in the two west African countries.

Customers can get a refund or rearrange their flight for a later date.

'Constant review'

The Liberian government said it regretted BA's decision, but added: "We fully understand that international airlines must keep the safety of customers and crew as their highest priority."

BA said in a statement: "We have temporarily suspended our flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 August 2014 due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries.

"The safety of our customers, crew and ground teams is always our top priority and we will keep the routes under constant review in the coming weeks.

"Customers with tickets on those routes are being offered a range of options including a full refund and the ability to rebook their flights to a later date."

BA's move follows a similar suspension by two regional carriers last week.

Health checks

Since February, nearly 900 people have died from the disease affecting four west African countries - Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The virus spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. The current outbreak is killing between 50% and 60% of people infected.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

The Liberian government statement said all outgoing passengers were receiving mandatory health checks, and that it would "work around the clock" to ensure international entry points were secure from Ebola.

It added: "We will continue to engage openly and positively with regional and international carriers so that any suspended flights can be resumed as soon as possible."

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