Hainan Airlines Departs Las Vegas One Last Time

A chapter has closed for Hainan Airlines, as the carrier terminates its direct Las Vegas service. With it, ends the world’s only direct flight between Beijing and Sin City.

Hainan Airlines has withdrawn from Las Vegas. Photo: Kambui via Wikipedia

What are the details?

As reported by The Points Guy, Hainan Airlines has ended its direct Beijing (PEK) and Las Vegas (LAS) service. The airline had been rumored to be pulling out for months but this week they finally snipped the route in the bud and removed future flights from the schedule.

Bejing to Las Vegas
The direct route has been canceled. Photo: GCmaps

This route operated by Hainan was the only direct Las Vegas to China service in the world. Naturally, Las Vegas stakeholders are disappointed.

Speaking to The Points Guy, a spokesperson for Las Vegas’ McCarren Airport said,

“It’s definitely disappointing. In this industry, there are often factors beyond our control that will work for or against a particular piece of business. Hopefully, conditions will improve and we can revisit this again sometime down the line, as I believe there is a market for this city pair.”

Hainan Airlines plane taking off
Chinese tourists looking to fly to Las Vegas will now have to fly via another US city. Photo: Hainan Airlines

Why did Hainan Airlines pull out of Vegas?

There are a few different reasons why Hainan Airlines pulled out of its direct service to Vegas.

Over many years, Las Vegas has come to appreciate the business from wealthy Chinese individuals who bring millions of dollars in revenue to the glittering desert city. However, the increasing development of vast casinos in Macau (which is only a few hours from Bejing) has brought new cut-throat competition to the international casino scene.

Macau has become so popular that it is one of the first routes for the new airline Starlux, a luxury airline that has dubbed itself the ‘Emirates of Asia‘.

Additionally, Hainan’s owner HNA Group is under severe financial pressure. Its woes on the marketplace have led it to sell off HK express to rival Cathay Pacific, as well as giving up its stake in Brazilian carrier Azul back in 2017. Overall the airline’s owner has had to find ways to earn back around $13 billion dollars to pay of over-leveraged assets, such as canceling Airbus orders.

Hainan Airlines 787 Dreamliner
The HNA Group needed to raise $13 billion USD over the last few years. Photo: Hainan Airlines

Cutting a route that isn’t proving to be that profitable makes sense (especially if there are other routes that could make more money).

Lastly, tensions between the USA and China have reduced overall traffic between the two nations. Whilst many business passengers still need to travel between the two countries’ economic centers, flying to a tourist destination like Las Vegas is not high on their list.

Hainan Airlines’ Las Vegas route is succeeded by its other USA routes; Chicago, Los Angeles, New York’s JFK, Seattle, Boston and San Jose (Not San Francisco, which is an interesting story in itself).

What do you think about this news? Will you miss the route? Let us know in the comments.