SAS is cutting flights to Hong Kong. Photo: AFP/Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto

Airline SAS announced Monday it was reducing the number of flights to Hong Kong, as tourists shun the former British territory now in the throes of nearly six months of pro-democracy protests.

The Scandinavian carrier said it was decreasing its five weekly flights from the Danish capital Copenhagen to four “due to a drop in demand in November,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation,” Freja Annamatz said, adding that SAS plans to resume the regular number of flights during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Nordic competitor Finnair indicated it will maintain its two daily flights between Helsinki and the eighth largest international airport in the world.

“We continue with two daily flights between Helsinki and Hong Kong, and at the moment we have no plans in reducing capacity,” a Finnair spokesman said.

Garuda Indonesia will go from running 21 flights a week to only four up to mid-December. Thai Airways and Philippine Airlines are each cutting one of five daily flights per week to Hong Kong.

The former British territory is going through its worst political crisis since its return to China in 1997.

Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

But after Beijing and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam took a hard line, the movement snowballed into a broader push for democracy and police accountability.

Activists say freedoms are being eroded by Beijing, contrary to a deal that outlined Hong Kong’s return to China from British colonial rule.


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