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.
The route cancellation
Hong Kong Airlines discontinues San Francisco service, last flight scheduled on 04OCT19
— Airlineroute (@Airlineroute) July 27, 2019Advertisement
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.
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.
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.
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.