US Airways officials say that the recession has put such a dent in international traffic that it could postpone, again, the start of PHL-Beijing service. The airline got U.S. government approval last year to start daily roundtrips but had to postpone the launch, after high oil prices, followed by the recession.
In its weekly newsletter to employees, released today, US Airways said in an answer to a question that not only would the airline need a new longhaul jet to fly the China route, the market also has a lot of capacity and has been adversely affected by the economy. The plan still is to start the service next April, but "don't be surprised if we ask for another deferral," the company said.
Answering questions during the quarterly conference call on Thursday, US Airways president Scott Kirby also said that the airline may look at reducing some of its European service from PHL if traffic doesn't pick up. Kirby said it too early to know for sure but service on some daily year-round routes could be trimmed to fewer days per week, or turned into seasonal service operating from spring through fall. There was no suggestion a route might be dropped altogether.