United will stop 2 routes from Guam - to Cairns and Seoul

Continental has a long legacy in Micronesia. Photo: contr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Continental has a long legacy in Micronesia. Photo: contr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

United Airlines is canceling two unique routes you probably never knew existed. 

On Sept. 27, United will stop flying between Guam and Cairns, Australia, a route it now flies twice weekly. And on Sept. 30, United will stop its daily service between Guam and Seoul.

As many of you know, United has a robust operation from Guam, where it operates a hub of sorts, with Boeing 737 and Boeing 777 aircraft. Before Continental merged with United, this was more or less a stand-alone operation called Continental Micronesia.  It even had its own operating certificate. However, after the merger the Micronesia operation was fully absorbed into United, and now it is just a unique part of United's route network. 

If you fly a United a lot, you may have seen a promo for the Pacific network that runs just before the safety video. It focuses on United's long history on the islands. 

I believe the Cairns service has been around for a while, but United told employees it isn't working. United used to carry a lot of Japanese passengers to Cairns, but the airline now says "demand on the route has reached a historic low" because Japanese passengers are flying nonstop, preferring not to make the connection in Guam. United also said weakness in the Australia dollar and Japanese Yen have been a problem. 

This version of Seoul service started late last year, according to the local Guam newspaper. The newspaper reported that Koreans are the second-most common tourists in Guam, behind Japanese. It noted that the airline had previously serviced Guam-Seoul but ended it in 2001.

Again, however, the service did not meet United's expectations.

"Average fares on GUM-ICN are lower than expected as competition from Korean carriers has increased, and therefore our revenue did not meet expectations nor cover the cost of operating the aircraft rather than having it remain overnight at ICN," United told employees.