Air China slashes U.S. network to ‘essential’ routes amid coronavirus outbreak

Feb 4, 2020

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Air China is slashing its network to the U.S. to just two routes to maintain “essential air connectivity” amid the drop off in demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Beijing-based carrier will fly from its Beijing Capital (PEK) base to San Francisco (SFO) via a stop in Los Angeles (LAX), and Washington Dulles (IAD) via New York John F. Kennedy beginning Feb. 11, Air China said in an emergency request to the U.S. Department of Transportation on Feb. 2. The changes were first reported by PaxEx.Aero.

Beijing-Los Angeles-San Francisco: Four flights per week on a Boeing 777-300ER from Feb. 11.

Beijing-New York-Washington: Three flights per week on a 777-300ER from Feb. 12.

In-depth: What does the coronavirus outbreak mean for travelers?

(Image by Cirium)
(Image by Cirium)
Air China will operate just two routes to four cities in the U.S. (Image by Great Circle Mapper)
Air China’s route map to the U.S. currently (above) and from Feb. 11 (below), when it reduces service to just two routes serving four cities to “maintain critical and essential air connectivity” during the coronavirus outbreak. (Image by Great Circle Mapper)


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Air China, which normally serves Los Angeles, New York JFK, San Francisco and Washington nonstop from Beijing, will suspend the rest of its U.S. flights. Suspended services include flights between Beijing and Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Newark (EWR) and between Shenzhen (SZX) and Los Angeles. Air China also will suspend its service between Houston and Panama City, Panama (PTY).

“Air China’s goal is to maintain critical and essential air connectivity between China and the United States during this difficult time in the most economical way,” the Star Alliance carrier said in its request to the DOT.

The airline has requested temporary authority to maintain its revised U.S. network for 180 days, or until early August.

Air China’s decision to slash its U.S. network amid the growing coroanvirus outbreak follows similar moves from China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines have, or imminently will, suspended all service to mainland China.

Related: What are airlines doing with the jets idled by the China flight suspensions?

Featured image by WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Image.

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