Dubai: Emirates, the largest international airline by passenger traffic, has reduced its flights to select US cities after restrictions imposed by president Donald Trump’s administration weakened travel demand from the Middle East.
The Dubai carrier said in a statement that starting next month it would be reducing flights to five of the 12 US cities it currently serves, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Seattle, Boston and Los Angeles.
“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to the US. The recent actions taken by the US government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the US,” an Emirates spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Emirates will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our US flight operations as soon as viable, the spokesperson added.
The airline further clarified that it has, during the past three months, seen a “significant deterioration” in the booking profiles on all US routes, across all travel segments. “Emirates has, therefore, responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would, and we will redeploy capacity to serve the demand on other routes on our global network,” the spokesperson explained.
From May 1 and May 23 respectively, Emirates’ Fort Lauderdale and Orlando operations will move from daily services to five a week. It’s Seattle and Boston operations will move from twice-daily services to a daily service from June 1 and 2 respectively. And from July 1, the airline said, its operations to Los Angeles will move from twice-daily to a daily service.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways claimed it had not seen any significant change in demand and had no plans at present to reduce flights to the six US cities it serves.
Another very active Gulf carrier Qatar Airways didn’t announce any flight reduction to any US cities till filing of this report.
Emirates flies to 12 US destinations and has said it aims to serve 15 US locations by 2018.