Troubled Hong Kong Airlines Cancels Los Angeles Route

Hong Kong Airlines, a carrier that has been in and out of peril over the last few months, has cancelled its Los Angeles to Hong Kong route under recommendations from the Hong Kong Government. This obviously jeopardises those with travel plans and the airline is doing its best to refund or find other arrangements.

hong-kong-airlines-cuts-capacity
Hong Kong Airlines has cut its Los Angeles route. Photo: Hong Kong AIrlines.

Who are Hong Kong Airlines?

If you don’t know, Hong Kong Airlines is the third biggest airline that operates out of Hong Kong, next to Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon. It operates a fleet of 28 aircraft to 30 destinations, some of which include the new Airbus A350.

However, not all has been going well for the carrier. Not only are they heavily affected by the protests currently inflaming the city of Hong Kong (reducing tourist numbers significantly), but they also had issues such as having two CEOs at once, asking the Hong Kong government for help, sending back fully completed A350 orders and even asking foreign pilots on their payroll to leave for a bit.

“Hong Kong Airlines has been operating in a challenging business environment for some time. In addition to strong competition and overcapacity in the market, the recurring protests in Hong Kong since June have also affected travel demand, further impacting its business and revenue,” said the airline in a statement to media.

Hong Kong Airlines close up decal
Hong Kong Airline’s feeling the pinch of its ambitious long-haul program. Photo: Airbus press release

What are the details of these changes?

According to the South China Morning Post, The Government of Hong Kong has asked the airline to cut operations by 6% to better stabilize their financial position. This essentially means removing 20 services a week across the board and, as a result, cancelling the Los Angeles service.

The route, normally operated by an Airbus A350 four times a week (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday) will be closed on February 6th, 2020.

The airline is also making frequency changes to routes to:

  • Vancouver
  • Osaka
  • Okinawa
  • Sapporo
  • Tokyo Narita
  • Seoul
  • Haikou
  • Hangzhou
  • Nanjing
  • Bangkok.

It is understood that the airline is taking action to either refund passengers or offer alternative travel arrangements, especially over the busy holiday season.

Hong Kong Airlines A350 take-off
Hong Kong Airlines needs to keep flying and keep costs low. Photo: Airbus press release

Why did the Hong Kong Government do this?

The government wants to ensure the successful operation of the airline, that passengers will be as unaffected as possible and that the competitive landscape of Hong Kong airport remains. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong government issued this statement about their imposed changes, saying,

“It is hoped that this will help improve the operation of Hong Kong Airlines. The government also requires Hong Kong Airlines to make appropriate arrangements to cater for the interests of passengers and staff.”

The Government is still watching the airline carefully and if their financial performance does not improve they will take extra action.

What do you think? Is this the right move to improve the airline? Let us know in the comments.

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