The short answer is: MONEY.
Not just income from the services but the ROI or return on investment. The ROI on US-SW Pacific services would be horriable. All US airlines can make more money by investing in other routes. In fact I would bet that UA
would make more money by closing their OZ
operation and using there 744 elsewhere.
Why is it such an expensive route to operate?
a) It's l-o-n-g, it requires at least two aircraft per daily frequency. You must do it non stop which means B744 (preferable 744ER), A345/6 or B777, none of which are cheap to buy and very few are on the used market and the 777 has ETOPS issues, although not major ones.
b) It's T-H-I-N. If you draw a line from the equator to the South Pole that passes just east of Madagascar, then from the South Pole back to the Equator that passes just west of the west coast of South America, then back to your start point, staying south of the Republic of Indonesia, then you have just enclosed about 30% of the worlds surface. How many people live in this area?
30 Million, on a good day! About the population of the LA
Basin plus the Bay Area! Far less than CA
's 50 million.
Now given the above stated aircraft types, how many flights a day are going to be profitable? Today QF
had five, two SYD
, one each MEL
had one SYD
& one SYD
had one AKL
. In addation there may have been one NZ AKL
, one TN
and one FJ NAN
, all 744 or A340 and FJ
has a 738 NAN
tonight and NZ
may have a 763 on an island hopper to LAX
Are they all profitable? I don't know but I'd bet not. Do they all earn a commerical rate of return? I doubt it. My guesstimate is that one QF SYD
flights do so. QF
would be boarderline, all the others, not a hope in hell!
Given the above why would any carrier that does not live here bother?