Coronavirus: AA, United suspend Hong Kong flights, Cathay Pacific trims China capacity
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Cathay Pacific Airways is slashing capacity by nearly a third as flight suspensions due to rising fears of the coronavirus outbreak spread to Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong-based carrier’s decision to suspend flights comes as passenger numbers have plummeted by half, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday. Capacity to mainland China will be cut by 90%.
Cathay Pacific is not alone in suspending flights. Fellow Oneworld partner American Airlines has suspended its daily flight between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Hong Kong (HKG) through Feb. 20, and its daily service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Hong Kong through March 27, American said Thursday. It previously planned to resume both routes on Feb. 21.
And, late Tuesday afternoon, United said it would do the same, suspending, its operations to Hong Kong from Feb. 8 through Feb. 20. United also cited decreasing demand.
“We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops and make any necessary changes to our schedule,” United said in a statement.
Hong Kong had been largely excluded from the suspensions impacting flights to mainland China in recent days. While some frequencies were reduced, for example United Airlines is suspending two of its three daily flights, many long-haul services to the city continued.
The news of American and Cathay Pacific’s flight cuts also comes after the first death attributed to coronavirus in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, United — the largest U.S. carrier to China and Hong Kong — has moved the date of its flight suspension for mainland China forward by a day to Feb. 5, the Star Alliance carrier told employees in an internal newsletter viewed by TPG Tuesday. The airline cited a drop in demand and the U.S. State Department’s decision to issue a Level 4, or do not travel, advisory for mainland China.
Delta Air Lines, which suspended all of its flights to China on Feb. 2, does not serve Hong Kong.
Even Chinese carriers are beginning to suspend flights. China Eastern Airlines has suspended some of its flights to North America through March 27, and Hainan Airlines all of its North American flights indefinitely beginning Feb. 2.
Air China also revealed plans to trim North American flights, saying in a filing with the U.S. DOT that it intends to slash its U.S. network to just two trans-Pacific routes in an effort to maintain “essential air connectivity.”
China Southern Airlines has not yet made an official comment on its plans for North America service.
China had confirmed more than 20,000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with 425 deaths or a mortality rate of 2.1%, according to a Cowen report.
The impact of the outbreak on airline’s finances is as yet unknown. However, with dozens of idled wide-body jets — high-cost assets that need to be flying to generate revenue — the impact will likely be significant for those with a large exposure to mainland China.
“There really is not much these aircraft can do,” Atmosphere Research travel industry analyst and president Henry Harteveldt told TPG Monday. “This is going to cost the airlines a chunk of change.”
Updated with American Airlines’ extended Los Angeles-Hong Kong suspension.
Featured image by Vivek Prakash/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees