American Airlines has announced plans to scrap flights between Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) by the end of the year. The last regular westbound flight is currently scheduled for October 20.

American says that the announcement was made as the carrier was discussing reshuffling its winter schedule. It has plans to request a dormancy waiver, in which an airline closes a service with an option to reopen it later, on the route from the US Department of Transportation.

American Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning says that the ORD-PEK route is no longer economically viable.

“American is operating more seats from Chicago this summer than in the past 10 years, and we are excited to continue to grow in this important hub,” said Raja. “However the current fare environment severely limits our ability to successfully compete between Chicago and Beijing.”

Despite dropping service to PEK, American has expressed interest in operating from Chicago to Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is set to open next year.

“We remain committed to China and anticipate that moving to the new Beijing airport in the future will improve the viability of the route through the additional connectivity in conjunction with our codeshare relationship with China Southern in the long run,” Raja added.

After American cuts flights, the only airlines operating directly between Chicago and Beijing will be United Airlines and Hainan Airlines.

American’s decision to cut flights from Chicago to Beijing comes about six months after American added flights between Beijing and Los Angeles last November. The airline, which is the largest in the world, will continue to operate flights to Beijing out of Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.

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Categories: Industry Talk