Haikou based Hainan Airlines has announced that as of September 25th, 2019 the airline will no longer be offering complimentary limo service for business class passengers.
While future bookings are no longer being accepted, the Skytrax five-star, top 10 airline has said it will still honor bookings made prior to the announcement on their website.
The Hainan Airlines statement simply read:
“Due to service adjustment, Hainan Airlines will suspend international business class passengers’ domestic and overseas LIMO service effective September 25th, 2019 (inclusive).
“No additional reservations will be accepted, current orders are still valid. Hainan Airlines will provide more diversified services to meet the needs of passengers.”
The limo service was a perk many passengers will miss
The chauffeur-driven limo service that Hainan Airlines offered was only available on revenue tickets. Given some of the enticing business class fares offered by Hainan, it will be a perk that many passengers will miss.
While it is never nice to see airlines discontinue services, the end of the free limo ride to the airport seems to be a no brainer to any airline executive who is looking to save costs.
Not too long ago, Gulf carrier Etihad stopped its chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz limousine service for first and business class award passengers traveling to and from Abu Dhabi. Fellow UAE airline Emirates has also curtailed its offering to passengers who have purchased revenue tickets in business and first class.
Hainan Airlines owner has huge debts
Generally, Hainan Airlines is considered as being mainland China’s best airline, offering eight nonstop flights from seven American cities to various destinations in China.
While Hainan Airlines is highly regarded by the flying public, its parent company the HNA Group is in a world of hurt, needing to raise billions of dollars to pay off debt.
According to Forbes, HNA’s Chairman Chen Feng told Caijing magazine in November that despite raising $43 billion through asset sales the group was still in financial trouble. Professor of finance at the New York University in Shanghai David Yu, gave his take on the situation at HNA saying,
“Their preference is to sell non-strategic assets first, but given the fact that this is a widely known situation and people know that they are a motivated seller, there is increased likelihood for potential buyers to hold out for better prices.”
Yu says that when HNA sold HK Express to Cathay Pacific for HK$4.93 billion ($628 million) they lost an asset that was poised to do well, given the strong demand for cheap short flights in Asia.
The HNA Group is looking to save money
Now taking into account the economic slowdown in China and a looming trade war with the United States, the HNA Group is looking at every avenue in its quest to save money in order to service its massive debts.
Along with the limo service, Hainan Airlines is stopping its twice-weekly direct flights between Beijing (PEK) and Las Vegas (LAS) according to The Points Guy.
It is a shame that Hainan Airlines is stopping the limo service, but if you are running the airline and told to find ways to save money a free limo service would almost definitely be the first for the chop.
Did you ever use Hainan Airlines limousine service? If so, please let us know what you thought of it in the comments.