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United Airlines suspends service between Chicago and Hong Kong citing 'reduced demand for travel'

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Chicago-based United Airlines has suspended flight operations between Chicago and Hong Kong.

"While our service between the United States and HKG (Hong Kong) remains a vital part of our network, we have decided to suspend service between ORD (Chicago) and HKG after the return flight from HKG on Sept. 9, 2019," the company said in a statement on Saturday, cited by CNN.

The airlines, however, did not cite the ongoing anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous region as a reason to cancel the direct route. Instead, the statement said it has seen "reduced demand for travel from Chicago."

Despite the suspension between Chicago and Hong Kong, "United remains the largest US airline to HKG," the company added.

Hong Kong has been facing mass demonstrations for nearly three months which started following the introduction of a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China, where there is a separate legal system for further prosecution.

The majority of protests have been peaceful, but groups of protesters shut down the city's international airport for two days earlier this month.

United Airlines is also planning to suspend services between Guam International Airport (GUM) and Hong Kong with effect from October 14.

South China Morning Post reported that the Chicago-Hong Kong route was losing money as the number of passengers in recent weeks had decreased.

Between August 1 and August 21, the number of travellers passing through Hong Kong international airport fell 11 per cent to 4.16 million visitors. Tourist arrivals to Hong Kong dropped further nearly 50 per cent between August 15 and August 20, according to the data provided by the government.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 25 2019. 18:48 IST