Hong Kong Airlines will stop flying to Los Angeles from February 8, 2020 next year or earlier, citing strong competition, overcapacity in the market and the “recurring protests” in Hong Kong since June.
The last Hong Kong Airlines flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles will be HX068 on February 6, 2020, while the last flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong will be HX069 on the same day (all times local). The airline said it would offer alternative travel arrangements to passengers who are already booked on Hong Kong Airlines flights to and from Los Angeles after the service ends.
Passengers with bookings on this route before February 6 would be wise to keep an eye on Hong Kong Airlines’ website, as the airline has said it will “closely monitor the market demand and decide if the suspension or flight consolidation needs to be implemented earlier”.
In October, Hong Kong Airlines axed its service to San Francisco. With the closure of the Los Angeles route, the airline will no longer fly to the United States, though it still flies to Vancouver in Canada.
The airline’s Los Angeles route was first announced in July 2017.
In addition, Hong Kong Airlines said it will “continue to adjust” its frequencies to Vancouver, Osaka, Okinawa, Sapporo, Tokyo, Seoul, Haikou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Bangkok in response to “changing market demands”. The airline will cut 6% of its flights overall, it said. Affected passengers travelling on these routes will be offered “alternative arrangements to minimise disruptions to travel plans, especially during the holidays season.”
Yesterday, Hong Kong Airlines issued an apology to passengers: “Hong Kong Airlines would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused to its customers. The airline will continue to monitor the situation closely and adjust its business plan accordingly to ensure that it remains commercially viable and sustain its long-term growth.”
It has been reported that Hong Kong Airlines, which is owned by Haikou-based conglomerate HNA Group, has been experiencing financial difficulties since at least the start of 2018.
In a statement issued on its website on October 25, Hong Kong’s Air Transport Licencing Authority (ATLA) said it has been monitoring Hong Kong Airlines “over a long period of time” and has “repeatedly asked” the airline to submit financial improvement plans.
The ATLA has the power to grant, revoke or suspend licences to carry passengers, cargo or mail by air for hire or reward on scheduled journeys.
“Having considered the information recently submitted by [Hong Kong Airlines], ATLA is of the view that [Hong Kong Airlines’] financial situation has shown no sign of improvement, and that the situation is a matter of concern,” the ATLA said.
The ATLA added that, on October 25, it asked Hong Kong Airlines to “take immediate and concrete steps with a view to improving the financial situation shortly”.
West Coast competition
Besides Hong Kong Airlines, two other carriers – Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific and Fort Worth-based American Airlines – fly non-stop from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. Business Traveller Asia-Pacific has reached out to both carriers to ask whether they have any plans to adjust their Los Angeles frequencies in light of Hong Kong Airlines cutting the route.
American Airlines said: “We continually review our schedule so that it meets the needs of our customers and our partner airlines. We have no plans to make changes to our schedule at this time.”
Cathay Pacific said: “There are 21 scheduled flights per week to Los Angeles and flights are subject to change in accordance with market demands.”
In 2018, Business Traveller Asia-Pacific reviewed the business class service on Hong Kong Airlines’ Los Angeles route.
You can also read a review of Cathay Pacific’s business class service on its Los Angeles route here.