American Airlines Forced To Stop Codesharing With Cathay Pacific Between New York and Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific has started routing flights over Russian airspace again, after pausing the practice as a result of Western sanctions which followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their New York – Hong Kong flight takes a ‘polar route’ which touches the eastern part of Russia, because it’s faster and they don’t have to weight restrict flights as they do taking a longer route. Cathay Pacific is not governed by a ban from its own government, nor is it banned by the Russian government.

In view of strong headwinds and payload issues affecting our flights from the east coast of North America to Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific will be operating the polar route for flights departing from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Hong Kong.

As a result of this change, American Airlines has suspended codesharing with Cathay Pacific on its New York JFK – Hong Kong flight.

U.S. airlines can’t use Russian airspace, and that’s not just true for flights they operate but also for flights carrying their flight number. U.S. airline-coded flights cannot overfly Russian airspace. As a result, American was forced under U.S. rules to stop the codeshare.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Silly! Why penalize American Airlines (and US consumer by extension) when they can basically free ride on the coat tail of Cathay?

  2. Same thing happened to US carriers overflying parts of the Middle East when the US had airspace restrictions over parts of that region. The whole irony of all this is that foreign carriers regularly overfly Iran and the US allows code-sharing on those flights

  3. Guessing the impact is minimal. Business travel to/from Hong Kong is probably up by single digits at best. Transfers are more than likely in the low numbers too. Hong Kong, as it existed until 2018, is over.

  4. When I was doing business in Asia flew CX multiple times a year through HK. Now with their decision to fly over Russia from NY to HK, I will not be flying their airline for the foreseeable future. From the WC going to Southeast Asia will fly through Japan, no desire to fly through HK. Will the US cancel CX landing rights from NY?

  5. Can’t imagine what would happen to a westerner if a flight had to be diverted and emergency land in russia. I would probably avoid these flights if you have a US or EU passport.

  6. @Bob – Many other airlines (Air India and Etihad to mention just two) have been flying over Russian airspace during most of the war and those airlines land in the US every day.

    @don – Cathay’s overflight procedures specifically indicate that no Russian airport will be planned or considered for diversions.

  7. @doug
    So if they have a cabin fire or engine fire or serious medical emergency on board, they wouldn’t land in Russia? Would they treat Russia like it is an ocean and fly to the closest non Russian airport?

  8. Shame on Cathay and thank goodness that US taxpayer money cannot enrich Putin (AA codeshares can be purchased by the government under the Buy American Act).

    But the real question is why does the Port Authority New York and New Jersey allowing planes paying money to Russia to land? They should cut Cathay off.

  9. Stupid game. Such an innocent airline trying to survive and provide the best service to the travellers who choose to fly with them. The US might as well ban all Chinese registered carriers to the country.

  10. Thanks God. Leave the horrible services from American carriers to the well deserved Americans. Always go for Asian carriers on long haul, even if I need to pay premium.

  11. @Don – That is correct. Flight plans will be made with non-Russian airports as diversion points throughout the flight path. Their NOTAM specifically says Russian airports will “not be considered for diversion.”

  12. Any carrier using Russia diversion airports or overflying Russia should not be allowed to enter US airspace. US passport holders should strongly reject those flights, as it’s not clear what will happen to them.

Comments are closed.