Air China is ceasing its Hawaii operations. The decision will come into force from August 27, 2019. The cancellation of the route between the United States and China comes as the two countries are engaged in an ongoing trade war. However, Air China states politics has nothing to do with the stop of Hawaiin flights. 

The carrier explains underlying reasons for the decision as related to its “network layout and capacity arrangements”. “Due to network layout and capacity arrangements, Air China will stop operating the CA837/8 flight on the Beijing-Hawaii-Beijing route from August 27, 2019,” an announcement on the airline’s website, dated August 9, states.

The average passenger load factor on Air China’s Beijing-Honolulu route was 66.37% last year, according to Chinese aviation data provider reported by Reuters. The result stands in contrast to other load factor, which is 76.69% on average for the airline’s international routes, the publication also notes. 

It also hints that the route is being closed somehow abruptly, as some passengers, already holding tickets for Hawaiian flights, will be affected. “Air China apologizes for the impact of the passenger travel plan, and will actively do the follow-up ticket service for the passengers who have purchased the ticket, and refund the full ticket for passengers who have traveled on August 27, 2019 (inclusive),” is also noted in the announcement.

This is not the first time as China national carrier’s decisions are seen as a sign of increasing tensions between the country and the United States. In July 2019, Air China inked a  $6.54 billion worth deal to purchase 20 Airbus A350XWBs. The aircraft choice came a month after  Bloomberg reported that Air China and U.S. planemaker Boeing was in the midst of negotiations with Chinese airliners “for one of the largest orders ever of wide-body jetliners”, potentially centered on 100 twin-aisle jets, including the 787 Dreamliners and the much-anticipated 777X. As of the date, Boeing has not announced a similar deal with the Chinese airline. 

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China’s flagship carrier, Air China, has announced it entered into a purchase agreement with Airbus to buy 20 A350-900 aircraft, boosting the European plane maker’s order book for wide-body aircraft. The deal, inked on July 11, 2019, is worth $6.54 billion.