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!
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.
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.
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?