Emirates cuts flights to US as demand weakens

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

The Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based airline says it will cut down on the number of flights to five of the 12 cities it serves in the US.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both stopped flying to Dubai past year, leaving Emirates the only carrier to offer direct USA flights to what has become the world's busiest airport for global traffic.

In an attempt to mitigate the inconvenience of the recent ban on electronic devices onboard US-bound flights, earlier this month the airline began a new complimentary service where first and business-class passengers could borrow tablets while onboard US-bound flights from Dubai.

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No U.S. carriers offer direct flights to any of the affected cities, and they have complained bitterly that airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad are unfairly subsidized by their governments.

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Last month, the US banned electronics larger than cellphones in carry-on luggage on flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa, including those in Turkey and Dubai.

Last month, the Trump administration announced that passengers on direct flights to the US from eight majority-Muslim countries - Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - must now place electronic devices such as laptops, tablets and cameras in checked baggage.

Trump signed an initial executive order in late January, originally placing a 90-day travel ban on people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, and Yemen and a 120-day ban on any refugees. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared to five per week.

The March 6 visa ban has also been put on hold due to court rulings in Maryland and Hawaii, which found the measure was likely unconstitutional and tainted by anti-Muslim bias. "Over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our USA routes, across all travel segments". Emirates Airlines flies to 12 USA destinations. And on July 1, its twice-daily service from Los Angeles will also switch to a daily frequency. As the New York Times reports, yesterday President Trump signed an executive order calling for a reexamination of the U.S.'s H-1B visa program that now brings in 85,000 skilled foreign workers a year.

Like its smaller Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Emirates has ramped up its U.S. presence in recent years and recently launched a new service to Newark via Athens. "It also reduced the demand for air travel into the U.S.", the government-owned carrier said in a statement. It is well known that the Gulf carriers, including Emirates, lose money on most of their flights to the United States and are propped up by billions of dollars in government cash, ' she said. The Gulf airlines deny the allegations.

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