United Airlines is suspending daily service from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Hong Kong starting next month, the company confirmed to CNN Saturday.
“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.
United Airlines did not cite the ongoing protests in Hong Kong as a reason to cancel the direct route. Instead, the airline said that it has seen “a reduced demand for travel from Chicago.” Despite the suspension between Chicago and Hong Kong, “United remains the largest U.S. airline to HKG,” the company added.
Hong Kong has been facing mass demonstrations for nearly three months. The protests were sparked by a now-suspended bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to China, where there is a separate legal system. Since then, the movement has expanded to include an inquiry into alleged police brutality and universal suffrage in the city, which currently only has partial democracy.
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 is also planning to suspend service between Guam International Airport (GUM) and Hong Kong starting on October 14, a change that was previously announced.
At the same time, United Airlines confirmed to CNN that it will add a second flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong this fall to complement its existing service. “We look forward to our upcoming addition,” the company added.