American Cuts Cathay Pacific Codeshare Because… Russia

American Cuts Cathay Pacific Codeshare Because… Russia

28

With Cathay Pacific once again using Russian airspace, this has some interesting implications for its codeshare agreement with American Airlines.

American no longer codeshares on New York to Hong Kong route

Earlier this year, Cathay Pacific stopped using Russian airspace. The airline did this out of an abundance of caution, rather than due to any reciprocal flight ban, as we’ve seen in many parts of the world.

For flights to North America, this will primarily impact those to the east coast, and in particular the New York to Hong Kong route. The reality is that due to headwinds and payload restrictions, Cathay Pacific could no longer economically operate this route without using Russian airspace.

The first flight from New York to Hong Kong via Russian airspace just operated, and it hugely cut the flight time. The October 30 flight (without using Russian airspace) took 17hr24min, while the November 1 flight (using Russian airspace) took 14hr45min — wow!

Cathay Pacific is back to using Russian airspace

This is having an interesting impact on one of Cathay Pacific’s partnerships. As flagged by View from the Wing, American Airlines will no longer codeshare on Cathay Pacific’s New York to Hong Kong route.

Not only are US airlines banned from using Russian airspace, but they’re also banned from putting their flight number on any services that use Russian airspace. For those not familiar, a codeshare agreement is when an airline places its flight number on the service of another airline, as a way of essentially marketing a flight. There’s some level of payment and revenue sharing involved there.

American is continuing to codeshare on other Cathay Pacific routes to the United States that don’t use Russian airspace. Furthermore, you can continue to earn and redeem American AAdvantage miles on all Cathay Pacific routes to the United States, including the New York to Hong Kong route.

This isn’t the first time American has had to do this

Cathay Pacific’s New York to Hong Kong service isn’t the only route where American Airlines has been forced to cut its codeshare agreement. Qatar Airways also uses Russian airspace when it’s the most direct routing.

Specifically, routes from Doha to the west coast of the United States (including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle) do use Russian airspace, so you won’t find an Alaska Airlines or American Airlines codeshare on those flights. Meanwhile other flights to the United States don’t use Russian airspace, and therefore codeshare agreements continue to remain in place.

Qatar Airways uses Russian airspace on some routes

So if you go to Alaska Airlines’ website and try to book a ticket with cash from Seattle to Doha, you’ll find all kinds of routings through non-west coast gateways. Meanwhile you can redeem Alaska Mileage Plan miles on those west coast flights without issue, as those aren’t technically booked as codeshares.

Alaska Airlines’ codeshare flights on Qatar Airways

Bottom line

American Airlines has been forced to cut its codeshare agreement on Cathay Pacific’s New York to Hong Kong route, as the airline has once again started using Russian airspace. US airlines are banned from using Russian airspace — that includes not just flights operated by US airlines, but also flights marketed by US airlines.

This is no different than how US airlines can’t codeshare on some of the Gulf carriers’ flights to the west coast, which also use Russian airspace.

On some level this seems silly. If I’m redeeming miles, I can book a flight over Russian airspace on a foreign airline, while I can’t when paying cash. I guess the line has to be drawn somewhere, though, and this doesn’t ultimately seem like an unreasonable points at which to do so.

What do you make of American having to cut its Cathay Pacific codeshare on New York flights?

Conversations (28)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. John Guest

    Many travelers do not pay much attention to this but just book the flight that is direct and less flight time. If AA did not share with code and means losing marketing to such direct route, AA is the loser only. As other mentioned, other airlines have flights traveling over Russia space too ( shorter route and fuel less).

  2. James Guest

    So, if you buy American points, then book the tickets using points on the flights going over Russian airspace is not a violation!!!!

    1. Mike C Diamond

      Correct. The only thing that US law prohibits is a US airline putting their flight number on a flight that uses Russian airspace. Laws do not restrict US citizens, and nor do they prevent a US carrier from selling a ticket on a flight that uses Russian airspace (as I read it) as long as it's not marketed with a US carrier flight number.

      On its web site Qantas sells revenue tickets with some or...

      Correct. The only thing that US law prohibits is a US airline putting their flight number on a flight that uses Russian airspace. Laws do not restrict US citizens, and nor do they prevent a US carrier from selling a ticket on a flight that uses Russian airspace (as I read it) as long as it's not marketed with a US carrier flight number.

      On its web site Qantas sells revenue tickets with some or all of the sectors on Emirates flight numbers, and interline sectors in conjunction with QF flights to the US among other places, so I presume AA could do the same with CX flights, if they chose to (which, it appears they do with reward flights), without breaching US law.

  3. Jake Guest

    > "If I’m redeeming miles, I can book a flight over Russian airspace on a foreign airline, while I can’t when paying cash."

    This makes zero sense. If you’re redeeming miles, even if those miles are from American Airlines, you are buying a ticket on a Cathay Airlines coded flight. And yes, you CAN book that flight when paying cash -- from Cathay Airlines; the only difference is that American Airlines cannot resell it with...

    > "If I’m redeeming miles, I can book a flight over Russian airspace on a foreign airline, while I can’t when paying cash."

    This makes zero sense. If you’re redeeming miles, even if those miles are from American Airlines, you are buying a ticket on a Cathay Airlines coded flight. And yes, you CAN book that flight when paying cash -- from Cathay Airlines; the only difference is that American Airlines cannot resell it with its code. And that's for a good cause: tickets on flights bearing the code of American Airlines are eligible for the Buy America Act, and we don't want to use taxpayer's money to subsidize Putin, do we (Cathay will be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to Russia, the most expensive large airspace to overfly).

  4. Brianair Guest

    Cathay Pacific is pretty much Air China South at this point anyways. It's only a matter of time before they leave Oneworld (and Starlux replaces them). The political situation that allowed an airline like Cathay Pacific to thrive and become a large global airline is no longer there.

  5. Fast Ed Guest

    I have a flight already ticket in February with AAdvantage miles - HKG - JFK. Will they boot me if I’m an American?

    1. Mike C Diamond

      Whether you are an American or not doesn't matter, the issue is about AA flight numbers on CX metal. If you're ticketed with a CX flight number you should be fine, if they've used an AA flight number you have a problem.

    2. Jay Guest

      My JFK-HKG flights in December got cancelled. Ticketed with AA flight number

  6. iamhere Guest

    Who cares. You can still earn and redeem points, so it doesn't really matter if it is code share or not. Also, it's not like they are flying over the most problematic areas. To avoid a big piece of land like that is either very costly or not realistic. Surprised that Cathay flies West rather than East.

  7. Speedbird Guest

    A lot of strong emotions about Cathay flying over Russian airspace. I wonder if the posters also expressed these sentiments towards carriers that continued to fly to the United States after our unprovoked invasion of Iraq, and our indiscriminate combing campaigns stretching from Vietnam to today.

    Companies and countries alike could not care less about morality, all that matters is what benefits them. As appalling as Russia’s invasion is, I feel equally strongly about Israeli...

    A lot of strong emotions about Cathay flying over Russian airspace. I wonder if the posters also expressed these sentiments towards carriers that continued to fly to the United States after our unprovoked invasion of Iraq, and our indiscriminate combing campaigns stretching from Vietnam to today.

    Companies and countries alike could not care less about morality, all that matters is what benefits them. As appalling as Russia’s invasion is, I feel equally strongly about Israeli and Saudi bombing campaigns in the Middle East, that the rest of the world couldn’t care less about. I’ll gladly fly Cathay, or any airline flying through Russian airspace if it’s convenient to me.

    1. Arie Guest

      It's called selective moral outrage. And you typically hear from people who live on lands that were invaded and conquered by western european nations.

  8. Alan Gold

    Shame the US govt decides for its citizens rather than giving them the freedom to choose. I for one am 100% against sending arms to Ukraine. I live in Mexico and we all understand that we are not free to choose an anti-US, pro Russian or Chinese candidate. Ukraine is in the same position but its corrupt leaders benefit too much from the current situation to accept reality

    1. henare Diamond

      Uh, this is *literally* what governments do. Go back under your rock.

    2. Hg Guest

      Think again about the so called freedom. It doesn't really exist in reality.

  9. SK Guest

    Throw CX out of Oneworld, just as meanly and lowly as done to S7.

  10. Steve Guest

    I'm happy for a little inconvenience. Don't want to support Russia in any way, even if it's just symbolic.

  11. NJP11 Member

    Is the BOS to HKG flight using Russian airspace again?

  12. John Guest

    American has quietly dropped others. Good luck finding biz class on Qatar or Etihad.

    1. spencer Guest

      I see a lot of QR award availability in the next 60 days but nothing longer. EY can't be seen on AA anyways but there is plenty of EY award availability 1 year out

    2. dfw88 Guest

      Award availability, which it appears you're talking about, and codeshares are two completely different things. AA has only (recently) dropped codeshares that overfly Russia, and probably only then because the US government made them.

    3. JB Guest

      Actually, I've found that more award seats have been made available on Qatar through AA in the past few weeks that wasn't available before.

      For example, I just flew from the Indian Subcontinent to the U.S. on Qsuites for 70K AA points last Thursday. I couldn't find any availability for QR Business for the last 8 months. Meanwhile, I found a large amount was just opened up a couple of weeks ago and there...

      Actually, I've found that more award seats have been made available on Qatar through AA in the past few weeks that wasn't available before.

      For example, I just flew from the Indian Subcontinent to the U.S. on Qsuites for 70K AA points last Thursday. I couldn't find any availability for QR Business for the last 8 months. Meanwhile, I found a large amount was just opened up a couple of weeks ago and there is consistent availability on my routes until the end of December.

  13. BenF Guest

    Ben can you still earn miles and loyalty points on these? I’d assume yes?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ BenF -- Yep! No need for a flight to be a codeshare.

  14. Rob Guest

    Doesn’t UA codeshare on AI routes, particularly EWR/JFK-BOM that use Russian airspace?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Rob -- Nope, I can't find any UA flight numbers for those Air India services.

    2. S.A Guest

      American and Indian carriers can't put each other's codes on flights to and from India to the US or vice versa. They can only sell the tickets (probably through interline agreements) without putting in each other's codes. India and the US still need to sign a treaty where their carriers can have codeshare flights.

    3. David Guest

      Wrong. The 2005 U.S. - India Open Skies agreement gives the carriers of both countries the right to codeshare on each other’s flights. See Article 8 paragraph 7. So far, the carriers haven’t negotiated commercial agreements implementing these rights.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

henare Diamond

Uh, this is *literally* what governments do. Go back under your rock.

5
Steve Guest

I'm happy for a little inconvenience. Don't want to support Russia in any way, even if it's just symbolic.

4
Jake Guest

> "If I’m redeeming miles, I can book a flight over Russian airspace on a foreign airline, while I can’t when paying cash." This makes zero sense. If you’re redeeming miles, even if those miles are from American Airlines, you are buying a ticket on a Cathay Airlines coded flight. And yes, you CAN book that flight when paying cash -- from Cathay Airlines; the only difference is that American Airlines cannot resell it with its code. And that's for a good cause: tickets on flights bearing the code of American Airlines are eligible for the Buy America Act, and we don't want to use taxpayer's money to subsidize Putin, do we (Cathay will be paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to Russia, the most expensive large airspace to overfly).

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT