American Airlines has suspended flights to Sydney, Australia from the end of August until at least November. Currently Sydney is the American carrier’s sole destination in Australia, however, recent moves from the Australian government to slash arrival caps into the country has forced the airline to reconsider the route.
Inbound flights to Australia, operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft, were cargo only, with outbound flights back to the United States carrying a mix of passenger and cargo.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, arrivals into Australia have been limited, with travellers forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine. The number of travellers allowed in depends on the city of arrival and has changed throughout the pandemic depending on the situation locally.
Recently Sydney and Melbourne have plunged back into strict lockdowns, due to a handful of cases. This led to the Australian government slashing arrival caps from 6,070 to 3,035 a week. – 1,505 people will be able to enter Sydney a week. The slashed numbers are expected to remain until 2022, with the Australian government not announcing its intended date to remove the caps, but suggesting it could be early next year.
Many are worried that airlines, already operating on bare schedules, with extremely limited passengers, will be forced to pull out of flying to Australia all together. American Airlines seems like the first.
Earlier this year, Emirates pulled out of flying to most Australian destinations before reversing this decision.
Unfortunately the caps make it very hard for airlines to operate to Australia, meaning more could suspend services.