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It’s not exactly a secret that Hong Kong Airlines has been having a tough time of things for quite a while and when it announced that it would be closing down its route to San Francisco in July I suggested that there was a real possibility that the airline would decide to restructure its business and concentrate its efforts on routes within Asia…and that looks like what is happening.
After flying its last flights between Hong Kong and San Francisco at the beginning of October, Hong Kong Airlines has now announced that it will be closing down its route to Los Angeles from February 2020.
As things stand, the airline operates a 4x/week service between Hong Kong and Los Angeles using its Airbus A350 aircraft on the following schedule…
HX068 HKG 11:55 – 08:50 LAX (Sun)
HX068 HKG 12:00 – 08:50 LAX (Tue, Thu & Sat)
HX069 LAX 10:45 – 18:35+1 day HKG 359 (Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun)
…but the last flights are now set for Thursday 6 February 2020.
Hong Kong Airlines has said that all passengers who have booked to travel on the airline after 6 February will be offered “alternative travel arrangements”.
With the closure of its route to Los Angeles Hong Kong Airlines no longer serves the US market and now only offers one route across the Pacific (to/from Vancouver)…and I suspect that will be next for the chop.
The latest press release from Hong Kong Airlines confirms that other services will also be consolidated and as it goes on to say that it will “further adjust frequencies” to other destinations in its network this is almost certainly not the last route closure we’re going to see the airline announce.
Flyers booked on Hong Kong Airlines flights to/from Los Angeles that are due to take place ahead of the route closure on 6 February 2020 should monitor their reservations carefully as the airline has said that it will “monitor the market demand and decide if the suspension or flight consolidation needs to be implemented earlier” so the route may yet be closed earlier than February 2020.
Overall this is clearly bad news for anyone booked to fly with Hong Kong Airlines to/from LA but it’s also bad news for transpacific flyers as a whole – less competition is never a good thing.
With Hong Kong Airlines pulling out of the US market (and probably the North American market as whole sooner rather than later) this reduces competition for the likes of Cathay Pacific (which isn’t in great shape itself) and reduces the options we have for travel to/from Asia.
Less competition means less downward pressure on prices, so once the issues in Hong Kong are sorted out and things start returning to normal I’d expect to see prices rise above the levels they were at before the Hong Kong market was so seriously affected by the civil unrest in the territory.