(Yicai Global) Aug. 6 -- Air China plans to cancel the last direct flights from Beijing to Hawaii's state capital.
The Beijing-based carrier will suspend its CA837 and CA838 flights, the only current direct links between the two cities, starting Aug. 27, it said on its official Weibo account today citing only capacity management as the motive behind the change. The firm will arrange refunds for those affected.
There are still more than 40 daily flights with layovers connecting Honolulu and Beijing, offered by Air China, China Eastern, All Nippon, Hawaiian and United Airlines and priced between CNY6,000 (US853) and CNY41,000 a ticket. Air China's direct flights cost less than CNY8,000 a head.
Hawaiian Airlines stopped running its direct flight to Beijing in October after its average passenger load factor fell below 60 percent. Air China's is below 70 percent.
Hawaii had become a popular destination for the increasing number of Chinese tourists looking to travel overseas. Asian holidaymakers made up about a fifth of the nearly 10 million visitors to the archipelago last year, according to CNBC. Among them, Chinese are typically the biggest spenders, splurging about USD350 a day over an eight-day trip on average.
But trade tension between China and the United States has pushed down the number of Chinese tourists considerably -- data from the Hawaii Tourism Board shows some 36 percent fewer visited the state in June this year compared with last.
The dispute could also lead to foreign exchange losses at Chinese airlines as the yuan tumbles against the dollar.
Editor: James Boynton