FORT WORTH, TEXAS — American Airlines has temporarily halted two planned routes to China, one to Beijing and another to Shanghai, amid continued challenges in the aviation industry following the Covid-19 pandemic. The airline considers this move a "pause" and anticipates further adjustments to its China flights throughout the year.

Despite a gradual increase in flights to China after pandemic-related travel restrictions were lifted, airlines have faced obstacles, such as crew and aircraft shortages, and a demand that remains below pre-pandemic levels. American Airlines initially intended to commence two new China routes in October, from Seattle to Shanghai Pudong International and from Dallas Fort Worth International to Beijing Daxing International. However, these routes have now been removed from the carrier's schedule.

American Airlines confirms the recent adjustment to its winter 2023 schedule to China, stating that it will continue to modify schedules based on market demand and government regulations. The specific reasons for cutting the China flights have not been disclosed, but the airline plans to maintain its existing route from Dallas Fort Worth to Shanghai.

Although China removed Covid-related travel restrictions earlier this year, leading to increased flights by various airlines, demand for travel to the country has yet to fully recover. In January, trade group Airlines for America requested a waiver from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for rules requiring airlines to fly to China and Tokyo if they hold approvals. The DOT granted the extension until October 28 due to the ongoing depressed international flight operations and passenger demand.

It remains unclear whether American Airlines' decision to suspend its planned expansion to China was influenced by the ongoing Boeing 787 delivery delays. Between October 2020 and August 2022, Boeing had paused 787 deliveries for 22 months due to quality issues. Although deliveries resumed briefly, they were halted once again this year.

American Airlines still has four unfilled orders for Boeing 787-8s. The airline had planned to use this aircraft type for the Dallas-Beijing route, while the Seattle-Shanghai route was scheduled to be served by Boeing 777-200ERs. With the situation constantly evolving, American Airlines' future plans for its China routes will depend on several factors, including market demand, government regulations, and the resolution of aircraft delivery issues.