United's Trimming Service to Hong Kong, Buenos Aires
Hong Kong and Buenos Aires may be two of the world's most appealing travel destinations, but with ongoing political unrest in the former and an uncertain economic outlook in the latter, there's understandably been a drop in demand.
In response, United Airlines has taken the rare step of suspending select flights to both cities — just as the carrier recently did with flights to India (which are due to resume next month). The following flights will be suspended:
- Chicago (ORD)-Hong Kong (HKG) — daily flight suspended beginning September 8, 2019
- Newark (EWR)-Buenos Aires (EZE) — daily flight suspended beginning October 26, 2019
United will continue to operate the following flights to both markets, giving Chicago and Newark passengers an opportunity to rebook onto connecting flights, instead:
- Newark (EWR)-Hong Kong (HKG) — once daily
- San Francisco (SFO)-Hong Kong (HKG) — once daily (moves to 2x daily on October 26, 2019)
- Houston (IAH)-Buenos Aires (EZE) — once daily
Chicago is more likely to serve as a connecting point for Hong Kong-bound flyers, while Newark and San Francisco have more origin and destination traffic. As a result, connecting Chicago passengers should be accommodated through EWR and SFO without much impact.
Ordinarily, these flights would require two aircraft each, given the length of the journey to and from Hong Kong and the night on the ground in Buenos Aires, but in both cases, United has been able to assign these 777s and 767s to flights to Europe as well, in an effort to maximize utilization.
The HKG and EZE suspension leaves the carrier with two extra wide-bodies during this suspension, which will likely be used for domestic flights, including premium transcons, helping free up aircraft to operate flights that would otherwise be affected by the 737 MAX grounding, instead.