Earlier today I wrote about United ending its nonstop service between Los Angeles and Singapore. Does this move signal the Los Angeles hub is in danger?
Los Angeles is such a tough market. American and Delta also maintain hubs in Los Angeles. Competition is fierce. Carriers from around the world offer nonstop longhauls to LAX. Sometimes these are legacy routes by flag carriers that lose money but continue to operate for national prestige. This skews pricing.
And that leaves United in a precarious position.
Concerning United’s future intentions in Los Angeles, United continues to affirms its commitment to LAX:
While LAX based customers will no longer have a nonstop flight, they will have more choice of arrival and departure times to Singapore via the one-stop SFO connection. United operates four other nonstop trans-Pacific routes from LAX: NRT, PVG (Shanghai), SYD (Sydney) and MEL (Melbourne). We remain committed to serving these markets.
United also told me privately it fully committed to its LAX hub and focusing more on domestic travel.
But I have to wonder how Shanghai is doing. I wonder how London is doing with so much competition. I get that United essentially offers nonstop flights to Frankfurt and Munich as well via its joint-venture partner Lufthansa, but what about other routes? Might Paris work? Delta and Norwegian started nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Paris this year, Air France runs 2-3 daily flights, and Air Tahiti Nui also operates between LAX and CDG. Sometimes I wonder if competing at LAX is just futile.
> Read More: The Real Reason LAX is Still a United Hub
> Read More: United Cuts International Routes, Will Focus on Domestic Travel
As an Angeleno and loyal United flyer, I do not attempt to hide the fact that I’m rooting for UA at LAX. Even so, I increasingly recognize what a difficult market LAX is and simply cannot blame United for abandoning Singapore. Let’s just hope that is the only cut. My fear is that Shanghai is next.
image: Glenn Beltz / FLICKR