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United to end Hangzhou flights in October

United Airlines will end service to Hangzhou in October, as it faces weakness in the China market.

The Star Alliance carrier will end its three-times weekly flights between Hangzhou and San Francisco with a 252-seat Boeing 787-9 with the final return flight on 16 October, FlightGlobal schedules show and the airline confirms.

"In every market we serve, we continuously review and measure demand and performance," a spokesman says. "After careful analysis, we have determined that this route is not currently meeting our expectations and is not economically sustainable."

United reported a 5.5% decrease in Pacific passenger unit revenues in the second quarter, attributing the drop to weak demand in China and Hong Kong. Executives expect the weakness to continue through at least the end of the year.

Hangzhou was the Chicago-based carrier's third destination, after Chengdu and Xi'an, in its much-touted expansion to secondary cities in China. It cited the capital of Zhejiang province's proximity to Shanghai – only a one hour train ride away – as well as connections to partner Air China's focus city there as among drivers for the route when service began in July 2016.

However, competitive pressures between China and the USA have mounted since flights began. Chinese carriers have added a slew of new routes from secondary cities in China during the past year, including Sichuan Airlines between Hangzhou and Los Angeles.

United remains the largest carrier between the US and China without Hangzhou, with service to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai Pudong and Xi'an, schedules show.

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