United Airlines is making a series of cuts in its network to and from Guam. Flights between Guam and the cities of Shanghai, China and Sendai, Japan will be completely scrapped by the end of April. Meanwhile, all three flights between Guam and Tokyo Narita will be operated by Boeing 737-800s instead of the B777-200s that currently operate two of the three services. United will also reduce frequency from twice daily to once daily on routes between Guam and both Osaka and Nagoya.
Reductions, which were announced last October, are in response to dwindling demand between Asia and the island.
“United recently made a decision to adjust the capacity between Guam and Japan and Guam and China in response to the current weak demand for travel,” United Airlines stated this week in response to questions by a local newspaper. “After careful analysis, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue service between Guam and Shanghai, China, beginning March 22, and Guam and Sendai, Japan, beginning April 1. These routes are no longer economically sustainable to operate as regular services. Both routes have been facing difficulties even before recent geopolitical issues.”
However, these cuts aren’t the be-all and end-all for the routes. United will still operate selected flights between Guam and Sendai after the regular schedule is scrapped.
United isn’t the only carrier to cut capacity to Guam. Delta Air Lines, which has been flying between Guam and select Asian destinations since 1981, cut its entire schedule earlier this month due to weak demand. Delta, however, still operates flights between Japan and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island and the Republic of Palau.
Many analysts cite tensions between the US and North Korea, including threats by the Asian country to launch missiles at Guam, as a direct factor in reduced tourist demand to Guam.
“Guam remains an important hub for United,” the United stated this week. “As Guam’s hometown airline, we remain committed to Guam, which we have proudly served for 50 years, and to our employees across the Western Pacific and Asia. We also remain committed to doing our part in supporting the local economy, and we look forward to working with local stakeholders to increase demand to Guam, so that we can return to our normal flight schedules.”
“Guam has long been an important part of our airline, and we’re committed to keeping our Guam operation for the long-term, but the specific flying being removed is not core to our Guam network,” said Howard Attarian, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations at United.
Guam is United’s smallest hub. It had just 2.02 million seats in 2016.
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