United Airlines is suspending its daily direct flights between Chicago and Hong Kong, the airline company announced last week.
“Given the reduced demand for travel between Chicago and Hong Kong, we have determined that it is best to suspend our service between Chicago and Hong Kong,” United Airlines said in a statement.
The suspension, which begins September 8, comes as pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong continue. Throughout the summer, hundreds of thousands of residents have protested proposed measures that would increase China’s control over Hong Kong and would, residents say, undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. Two weeks ago, protestors crowded Hong Kong International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world.
The direct flights, coming into and out of O’Hare International Airport, are used by the University’s international students from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. Cathay Pacific, a Hong Kong airline company, still runs direct flights between O’Hare and Hong Kong.
Statistics that the University’s admissions office posts online show that the percentage of international students in each year’s class hovers at around 14 to 15 percent. The University said that to protect student privacy, it could not disclose the number of students who are Hong Kong citizens or citizens of Asian countries.
Several undergraduate students are travelling to Hong Kong this week to participate in a study abroad program focused on human rights. The program starts on Friday.
While United Airlines is eliminating flights between Chicago and Hong Kong, it is adding a second daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong in October, the company said in its statement.