End of Hong Kong Airline San Francisco Service Scheduled For October


Today it has been revealed that Hong Kong Airlines is closing reservations for their Hong Kong to San Francisco route as of October 4th, 2019. The route has only been in operation for about one and a half years – first launching in March 2018. Perhaps the competition was just much too intense for the route between two world-class cities.

Hong Kong Airlines
Cathay Pacific is reportedly interested in purchasing Hong Kong Airlines. Photo: Airbus

The route cancellation

The end of this service will see the end of the airline’s route HX60/61 which was roughly a 12.5 to 13.5-hour direct flight.

This, unfortunately, is indicative of Hong Kong Airlines’ poor financial situation. Owned by struggling HNA Group, its parent company has been trying to sell off assets. Furthermore, HNA Group has been unable to pay for many new Airbus planes that are on order. In fact, these aircraft are still sitting on the ground in Toulouse according to One Mile At A Time.

There had been talks of some serious restructuring at the airline, including the possibility of Hong Kong Airlines cutting their long haul flights to the US.

Hong Kong Airlines has a fleet of six A350 aircraft. Photo: Hong Kong Airlines

HKG-SFO Competition

Looking at the Hong Kong to San Francisco market, this is what’s left when Hong Kong Airlines drops its route:

  • Cathay Pacific: 3x daily flights, using a mix of 777-300s and A350-900s
  • United Airlines: With a hub at SFO, the airline offers a single daily flight with a 777-300. As of October 2019, this will increase to two daily flights using 777-200s
  • Singapore Airlines: A fifth-freedom route, the airline offers a single daily flight with a 777-300

The dynamic Hong Kong aviation market

Established in 2006, Hong Kong Airlines’ main competition was to be regional heavyweight Cathay Pacific. There was a point in history where things were looking bleak for Cathay Pacific. According to an article by the South China Morning Post, the airline took its first back-to-back loss in its 71-year history last year, at US$160 million.

However, the tide has been turning quite drastically in recent times. Cathay Pacific was able to post a profit after two years of losses. This was aided by rising airfares, according to CNBC.


On the other side, Hong Kong Airlines has had to withdraw its service from New Zealand from May. This is according to Kiwi publication Stuff. The airline has been experiencing financial problems and is currently trying to restructure. Reportedly, it is considering reducing the size of its fleet from 38 to 28 aircraft by cutting 10 Airbus A330-200s.

Hong Kong Airlines A350
The Hong Kong Airlines A350 at HKG. Photo: Wikimedia

The airline also has nonstop flights from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and Vancouver. These are both Cathay Pacific routes as well; we’ll have to wait and see if any other routes are cut in this restructuring process.

Are you sad to see this route be discontinued? Or would you prefer to fly with one of the competing airlines instead? Let us know by leaving a comment!

We reached out to Hong Kong Airlines and requested a comment. At the time of publication, we have yet to receive a response.


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Liz S

Received an email stating my flight from Sfo to Bali October 17, 19, was cancelled . No explanation. They darn well better find me a seat on another airline! I’m not happy!


Competition is always great for the traveling public. I’m really worried about Vancouver now. CX must have 3 flights/day (or close) plus AC flies the route daily. I flew with Hong Kong Airlines in J class in March and it was great. I’m very hesitant now to book for November as I’m uncertain what will happen. I don’t want my flights to get canceled at the last minute if they pull out…..sigh 🙂