Shandong Airlines (SC, Jinan) will suspend its Jinan-Hualien service from August 24, a decision that comes in the wake of the Chinese government's move to stop issuing individual travel permits for Chinese visitors to Taiwan that came into force on August 1, local media reported.

Shandong Airlines' statement is a fresh blow to the east Asian state, and also to tourism in Hualien in the east of the island, which has seen arrivals declining in recent years.

The weekly charter flights had been scheduled to continue each Saturday until late October, but the Chinese carrier said it would cease the operation early due to “planning adjustments”.

It had only resumed the route on July 1 after a three-year break. Capacity per flight is 160 passengers, and the load factor this summer has averaged at around 90%, according to Wu Yung-Chang, chairman of the Hualien County Travel Agency Association. He added that the majority of passengers were in Chinese tour groups, the Taipei Times reported.

Ten flights will be affected, and Wu said that the association was negotiating with other airlines to continue the route.

Shandong Airlines continues to operate three other routes to Taiwan, all of them to Taipei Taoyuan, from Jinan (6x weekly), Yantai Penglai Int'l (4x weekly), and Qingdao (3x weekly).