united airlines regina

United Airlines is ending direct service between Saskatchewan's two largest cities, Saskatoon and Regina, and Chicago effective in October. (CBC)

United Airlines is discontinuing, beginning in October, direct flights between Chicago and Saskatchewan's two largest cities, Saskatoon and Regina.

Instead of a direct route, passengers will travel through another location such as Toronto or Minneapolis.

Jim Hunter, president of the Regina Airport Authority, said Tuesday that airlines operate routes based on profitability.

"The airline business is pretty cut-throat," Hunter explained. "They work on very thin margins. And although I know the load factors were pretty good out of here, they were a little worried about the yield: which is the money they make on the route."

People who may have already booked a flight, for travel after the direct route is discontinued, will be given a chance to rebook with a connection or will be offered refunds.

Hunter said airport officials in Regina will see if other airlines will start direct service between the city and Chicago.

"We're going to go and talk to the other airlines to see if they might be interested," he said. "[It's] hard to say whether that will come to fruition or not. But it's all part of what we do on a daily basis here, which is maintenance and expansion of service into Regina."