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What is the future of Hong Kong in the Unitedís Asia Route Network? Alternatives?

What is the future of Hong Kong in the Unitedís Asia Route Network? Alternatives?

Old Jun 1, 22, 5:57 pm
  #46  
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
EVA is actually one of the better options to most of SE Asia.
Not currently, as despite it said it is flying and have a schedule, most flights end up cancelled, even the Taiwanese choose to fly UA SFO-TPE instead for reliability, guarantee it will fly

Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
UA operated 747SPs SEA-HKG
That was the later days, before SP it was DC10-30

Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
During PMUA days, the following flights to/from HKG were in service:

2X SFO-HKG-SFO (one morning and one evening)
1X LAX-HKG-LAX
1X NRT-HKG-NRT
1X SIN-HKG-SIN (later became BKK-HKG, then SGN-HKG)
1X DEL-HKG-DEL (as part of RTW)
There was ORD-HKG and JFK-HKG introduced later, and then UA terminated the NRT-HKG

RTW was cancelled, and then later LAX-HKG was also cancelled, restarted and cancelled again. Finally SGN got canned.

Post Meger:
EWR-HKG (instead of JFK) GUM-HKG were added

UA never operated IAD-HKG (CX did for a few months prior to Covid, IIRC)
Before 2x SFO-HKG, in mid 2000, there was 1.5x ORD-HKG, 895/896 was daily, then 828/829 was 3 times a week. Initially both were 744, then one 744 one 772.

JFK-HKG only lasted for 6 months

UA NRT-HKG terminated before merger, then restart after merger using CS 737


GUM-HKG was a CS route even went back to the 90s, it didn't start after the merger, just the frequency increased.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 1, 22 at 6:24 pm Reason: merged consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jun 1, 22, 10:38 pm
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
That was the later days, before SP it was DC10-30.
OT, but...Please share your source. I flew this route on UA right after it started, and at that time, the 747SP--which UA acquired from PanAm as part of their ambitious Pacific route purchase (along with SEA-NRT)--was the only AC that could span such a distance NS.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 5:16 am
  #48  
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Originally Posted by drewguy (Post # 29) View Post
The real question to me is what Asian hub(s) UA will use to serve onward *A carriers. They've moved out of NRT for HND for a number of flights, and SIN isn't great to then backtrack. ICN is Skyteam dominated because of Korean Air (esp. if Asiana purchase goes through). PEK is unattractive as hub. Gonna be a challenge and seems likely to be a grab bag depending on where you're going.
Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer (Post # 31) View Post
I don't see any viable alternatives. High risk to hub up/expand TPE with all the stuff going on out there - and I don't see them hubbing/expanding MNL - they've got their own issues. The appeal of HKG was it was both a business and tourist destination and with the business appeal being killed off it is difficult to make money on a largely leisure route whenever that may return.
Originally Posted by travelinmanS (Post # 42) View Post
As an aside, I miss those Asia-GUM flights. I made use of both PVG and HKG to Guam and it was a nice getaway for whenever I wanted to experience a bit of Americana without the long haul. CPU was always guaranteed as well on those routes! Obviously, now, no airlines will be adding China flights for a long time.
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA (Post # 44) View Post
A question is does UA need a single asian hub? Why?

There are 3-4 viable "focus cities" (NRT/HND/TPE/SIN? even HKG, PVG, . ...) where UA customers can then connect to a secondary destination use *A partners. UA does not seem interested in any fifth freedom flights and with 787s, is more focused on long thin flights than heavy lift flights needing a collector hub to justify.

The concept of an Asian hub isn't needed for UA.

And with some diversification UA becomes a bit more immune to local impacts.
One way to diversify, while remaining immune to disruption of an overseas hub by the laws and policies of that sovereign nation, would be to implement a nonstop flight or flights from the U.S. mainland to Guam (GUM), which does get business, military, and tourism traffic of its own, as UA is well aware from the very profitable HNL-GUM route.

Doing so would restore Guam as an Asian hub more profitable even than it was under Continental Micronesia, because of that never implemented mainland nonstop.

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of a long, skinny route like SFO-GUM, LAX-GUM, or IAH-GUM.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 6:55 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
OT, but...Please share your source. I flew this route on UA right after it started, and at that time, the 747SP--which UA acquired from PanAm as part of their ambitious Pacific route purchase (along with SEA-NRT)--was the only AC that could span such a distance NS.
This is my recollection too. But my recollection is not so good.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
OT, but...Please share your source. I flew this route on UA right after it started, and at that time, the 747SP--which UA acquired from PanAm as part of their ambitious Pacific route purchase (along with SEA-NRT)--was the only AC that could span such a distance NS.
Originally Posted by Bear96 View Post
This is my recollection too. But my recollection is not so good.
This is true. Prior to the Pacific route purchase from Pan Am, UA had a small TPAC network, and SEA-HKG (nonstop) was one such route, launching in 1983 with high-gross-weight DC-10-30ERs leased from CP Air. The -30ER also had an aux tank. SEA/PDX-NRT prior to 1985 operated with 747-100s, 6x weekly to SEA, 1x weekly to PDX. These routes comprised the first "Royal Pacific Service" on United.

After the Pan Am purchase in 1985, United acquired 747SPs (along with more 747-100s, DC-10s and L-1011s) and those replaced DC-10s on HKG service to SEA/SFO. SEA-HKG was gone by the early 90s.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
That was the later days, before SP it was DC10-30
Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
This is true. Prior to the Pacific route purchase from Pan Am, UA had a small TPAC network, and SEA-HKG (nonstop) was one such route, launching in 1983 with high-gross-weight DC-10-30ERs leased from CP Air. The -30ER also had an aux tank. SEA/PDX-NRT prior to 1985 operated with 747-100s, 6x weekly to SEA, 1x weekly to PDX. These routes comprised the first "Royal Pacific Service" on United.
After the Pan Am purchase in 1985, United acquired 747SPs (along with more 747-100s, DC-10s and L-1011s) and those replaced DC-10s on HKG service to SEA/SFO. SEA-HKG was gone by the early 90s.
Oops. I forgot about those CP DC-10s. Thanks!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 2, 22 at 11:01 am Reason: repaired quote
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Old Jun 2, 22, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by SPN Lifer View Post
as UA is well aware from the very profitable HNL-GUM route.
What leads you to think that? I generally take the thinking if it was that profitable why wouldn't Hawaiian or Delta enter the market if it truly was very profitable. Airfare tends to be high - but often the flight loads are very poor.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 11:42 am
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Originally Posted by mabatross1 View Post
If I remember correctly it had 3 flights. ORD, Newark (From continental), and 1 from SFO. I think they stop the ORD to HK and started 2 from SFO (morning and evening departure). The ORD was a UA plane and sometimes stopped in Bejing for fuel. Go back longer. The Neward was the extended range 777, so no need to stop for fuel. They did have HK to SIN and HK to NRT, but that has been gone for a long time. I have been lucky to take all of these flights at one time... Remember taking off North out of ORD and over the North Pole (within 60 miles) via 747 and later 777.
Originally Posted by UA_Flyer View Post
During PMUA days, the following flights to/from HKG were in service:

2X SFO-HKG-SFO (one morning and one evening)
1X LAX-HKG-LAX
1X NRT-HKG-NRT
1X SIN-HKG-SIN (later became BKK-HKG, then SGN-HKG)
1X DEL-HKG-DEL (as part of RTW)
There was ORD-HKG and JFK-HKG introduced later, and then UA terminated the NRT-HKG

RTW was cancelled, and then later LAX-HKG was also cancelled, restarted and cancelled again. Finally SGN got canned.

Post Meger:
EWR-HKG (instead of JFK) GUM-HKG were added

UA never operated IAD-HKG (CX did for a few months prior to Covid, IIRC)
Originally Posted by uastarflyer View Post
1 slight tweak - HKG-SIN and HKG-SGN tags did operate simultaneously. Both were operated by 737 for a spell, and 747. SIN tag also saw 777 service

sadly, put a fork in HKG, it’s toast as a robust destination or as a connector for UA

Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
UA operated 747SPs SEA-HKG
Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
OT, but...Please share your source. I flew this route on UA right after it started, and at that time, the 747SP--which UA acquired from PanAm as part of their ambitious Pacific route purchase (along with SEA-NRT)--was the only AC that could span such a distance NS.
I flew the HKG-SEA route right after it started, too. I am nearly 100% sure it was a 747-100, not an SP though. Back in the those days I had a logbook from Lufthansa where I kept track of my flight details. The SPs I believe came shortly thereafter with the purchase of PA's Pacific Division. PA had requested Boeing develop a 747 which could fly JFK-TYO and first 747-100s could not do the range.

Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
This is true. Prior to the Pacific route purchase from Pan Am, UA had a small TPAC network, and SEA-HKG (nonstop) was one such route, launching in 1983 with high-gross-weight DC-10-30ERs leased from CP Air. The -30ER also had an aux tank. SEA/PDX-NRT prior to 1985 operated with 747-100s, 6x weekly to SEA, 1x weekly to PDX. These routes comprised the first "Royal Pacific Service" on United.

After the Pan Am purchase in 1985, United acquired 747SPs (along with more 747-100s, DC-10s and L-1011s) and those replaced DC-10s on HKG service to SEA/SFO. SEA-HKG was gone by the early 90s.
EWR764 I think you have provided the most accurate information. From my memory UA had two years of sevice HKG-SEA, TYO-SEA and 1-2 weekly PDX-SEA which they had to give up to get approval to purchase the PA routes. UA also had gotten rights to SEL-SEA which they had not started but also had to give up. Accordingly HKG-SEA was dropped when UA took over PA's HKG routes.

In the 90s UA's SFO-HKG service peaked at 3X daily but it did not last long. There were two morning flights and the third was an evening departure. I remember checking in for the midnight UA HKG-DEL service and being surprised at the long lines when they added the third SFO departure since the night SFO and DEL departures were about the same time. (CX did not fly HKG-DEL at the time and AI usually ran 2-6 hours late when they did not cancel so UA was the best option.) UA agents told me the third SFO flight was never that full and not surprisingly it did not last.

In the 90s in addition to the US mainland UA ran tags from HKG to NRT, SIN, SGN, BKK and DEL but never all at the same time. SIN and NRT were constants, DEL was first and after it was dropped UA played around with BKK and SGN.

Regardless of its UA's long history at HKG, HKG's place in the world has drastically changed and the political situation further erodes its desirability as a travel or transit destination. My guess is HKG-SFO passenger service will resume late this year and ORD and LAX 2023. But I would not be surprised if UA does not resume either LAX or ORD. HKG's heyday as a travel hub is behind us, time to move on.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by uanj View Post
I flew the HKG-SEA route right after it started, too. I am nearly 100% sure it was a 747-100, not an SP though. Back in the those days I had a logbook from Lufthansa where I kept track of my flight details. The SPs I believe came shortly thereafter with the purchase of PA's Pacific Division. PA had requested Boeing develop a 747 which could fly JFK-TYO and first 747-100s could not do the range.
A 747-100 would have flamed out somewhere south of Japan on HKG-SEA. UA leased the CP DC-10-30s expressly to operate HKG-SEA since it was beyond the 747-100's range. At the time UA did not have any 747-200s. 741s flew SEA/PDX-NRT nonstop.

The SP was able to fly nonstop JFK-NRT in both directions year-round, with cargo, and was used as such. But the primary design missions, in terms of performance, were nonstop California to Australia for Pan Am, and JFK to Tehran for Iran Air.

Accordingly HKG-SEA was dropped when UA took over PA's HKG routes
SEA-HKG operated for a few years and then was dropped, but not as a condition to the purchase like SEA-NRT. An interesting history on the SEA-NRT route, though. UA was forced to cede rights to serve SEA-NRT with the PA Pacific DIvision purchase (a route it initially acquired from PA in 1983), but operated the flight for two years while the award was in litigation. Eventually the DOT gave the rights to CO, which launched it and operated briefly, IIRC until its 1990 bankruptcy. It was sold for desperately-needed cash to American, which in turn flew it until 9/11 or so. As we know, UA got back into SEA-NRT in 1998 when the USA-Japan bilateral was liberalized, which was again dropped in 2013 not long after DEN-NRT launched.

Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
What leads you to think that? I generally take the thinking if it was that profitable why wouldn't Hawaiian or Delta enter the market if it truly was very profitable. Airfare tends to be high - but often the flight loads are very poor.
For a long time, HNL-GUM r/t was the single highest grossing domestic flight out of all US carriers in terms of passenger+cargo revenue. Not highest grossing market, but single flight. I can't confirm whether that remains the case.

The high fares are the key, plus it is a critical cargo route, especially through the pandemic, with international freight in flux.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by HNLbasedFlyer View Post
What leads you to think that? I generally take the thinking if it was that profitable why wouldn't Hawaiian or Delta enter the market if it truly was very profitable. Airfare tends to be high - but often the flight loads are very poor.
It is profitable because it is monopoly. Delta and everyone else know that and stay away.

Back to HKG, from the perspective of us Hongkongers there and abroad, seeing how friends, relatives, celebrities and YouTubers flying into and out of HKG these days (inbound traffic is increasing because of only-7-day quarantine, outbound traffic is increasing due to you-know-what):

To/from North America: SQ/SIN
To/from Europe: SQ/SIN
To/from Australia: SQ/SIN
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Old Jun 2, 22, 1:57 pm
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Not much to add, but I figure HKG as a "hub" for United is dead. It was already dead pre-pandemic. The importance of the city and its population are too big to ignore (despite obvious signs of decline), so what does that leave one to two flights a day from SFO-HKG on a 787 or 777.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by artvandalay View Post
OT, but...Please share your source. I flew this route on UA right after it started, and at that time, the 747SP--which UA acquired from PanAm as part of their ambitious Pacific route purchase (along with SEA-NRT)--was the only AC that could span such a distance NS.
Then you didn't flew this route right after it started, as this route was the third TPAC route UA started in 1983, way before UA bought PA's Pacific division, this was not a PA route at all, and UA lack the fifth freedom rights that only PA and NW had, so it can only start it's own on 2nd tier cities.

Another reason is back then UA had ZERO long haul planes, they had 747, but all of them were -122, which have no range to fly any long haul other than SEA-NRT and PDX-NRT, they had DC10, but all were the short range -10. So UA actually swapped 3 DC10-10 with CP for 3 DC10-30 (higher thrust version that equivalent to DC-10-30ER. All 3 of them had repainted in UA rainbow colors but with CP registration C-GCPF, C-GCPG, and C-GCPH, active from 1983-1987.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 2, 22 at 3:33 pm Reason: removed snark to a valid question
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Old Jun 2, 22, 4:39 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by uanj View Post
I flew the HKG-SEA route right after it started, too. I am nearly 100% sure it was a 747-100, not an SP though. Back in the those days I had a logbook from Lufthansa where I kept track of my flight details. The SPs I believe came shortly thereafter with the purchase of PA's Pacific Division. PA had requested Boeing develop a 747 which could fly JFK-TYO and first 747-100s could not do the range.
Perhaps you can look up the range of 747-100 and distance between SEA-HKG to see if it is possible ???

UA SEA-HKG definitely flew for more than 2 years as the CP DC10 stayed in the fleet for 4 years then returned to CP when PA's SP arrived, then flew for further 2 years before the route was sold to NW as NW 7/8, which later on got dropped and in favor to start the short lived MSP-HKG as NW 97/98

Originally Posted by uanj View Post
In the 90s in addition to the US mainland UA ran tags from HKG to NRT, SIN, SGN, BKK and DEL but never all at the same time. SIN and NRT were constants, DEL was first and after it was dropped UA played around with BKK and SGN.
HKG-SGN actually didn't exist in the 90s but inaugural in 2004, there wasn't any US service to Vietnam not since PA left at 1975. The inaugural was performed by 2nd UA plane painted in new livery rising blue N196UA. The UA HK ticket office (still at Gateway tower at the time) even printed travel brochure at the time for travel to vietnam with the inaugural 744 photo

Originally Posted by uanj View Post
Regardless of its UA's long history at HKG, HKG's place in the world has drastically changed and the political situation further erodes its desirability as a travel or transit destination. My guess is HKG-SFO passenger service will resume late this year and ORD and LAX 2023. But I would not be surprised if UA does not resume either LAX or ORD. HKG's heyday as a travel hub is behind us, time to move on.
LAX-HKG would never return as even AA dropped LAX-HKG before pandemic, no chance at all unless CX back off. Before the pandemic CX had long established it's 3x daily LAX-HKG
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Old Jun 2, 22, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by CApreppie View Post
Not much to add, but I figure HKG as a "hub" for United is dead. It was already dead pre-pandemic. The importance of the city and its population are too big to ignore (despite obvious signs of decline), so what does that leave one to two flights a day from SFO-HKG on a 787 or 777.
I would think maybe EWR-HKG comes back, but it seems like 2 frequencies max (1x SFO, 1x EWR) is probably the maximum. Personally, I wouldn't mind if UA reallocated some more capacity to go to TPE...would be a fan of seeing EWR-TPE at some point down the road.
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Old Jun 2, 22, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by PsiFighter37 View Post
I would think maybe EWR-HKG comes back, but it seems like 2 frequencies max (1x SFO, 1x EWR) is probably the maximum. Personally, I wouldn't mind if UA reallocated some more capacity to go to TPE...would be a fan of seeing EWR-TPE at some point down the road.
Honestly -- HKG isn't coming back - and I'm not sure the flights will either.... It is going to be just another mainland China city... As an international company that used to have operations there we relocated all of our operations to SIN and TYO. The hospitality business will continue to be strong there for a short time -- but even that will start to crumble as there isn't any reason for mainland Chinese to come there any more -- but beyond that HKG has totally lost it's status as a global financial hub -- and that is what truly (will have) killed it....
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