Emirates cuts U.S. flights; cites 'weakened' demand after Trump travel policies

Emirates airline is reducing its schedule to the United States, saying demand has dropped in the wake of a new electronics ban for carry-ons and broader attempts by the Trump administration to restrict travelers from several Muslim-majority nations.

Emirates will not cut any of its 12 U.S. destinations, but it will pare the number of flights it flies to five of those.

"This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to U.S.," Emirates said in a statement provided to USA TODAY's Today in the Sky blog. "The recent actions taken by the U.S. 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 U.S."

Though the carrier did not specifically cite President Trump, Emirates said demand for travel to the U.S. had dropped considerably since January, which is when he took office.

"Until the start of 2017, Emirates’ operations in the U.S. has seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high-quality product and our international flight connections," Emirates said in its statement. "However, over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across all travel segments. Emirates has therefore responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would, and we will redeploy capacity to serve demand on other routes on our global network."

Emirates’ Wednesday announcement detailed changes on the following routes:

- Boston-Dubai: Twice-daily service will drop to once-daily service starting June 2.

- Los Angeles-Dubai: Twice-daily service will drop to once-daily service starting July 1.

- Seattle-Dubai: Twice-daily service will drop to once-daily service starting June 1.

- Fort Lauderdale-Dubai: Starting May 1, two flights will be trimmed from the existing daily service. That will leave a schedule of five flights per week.

- Orlando-Dubai: Starting May 23, two flights will be trimmed from the existing daily service. That will leave a schedule of five flights per week.

Despite the service cuts, Emirates struck an optimistic tone that the reductions might be short-lived.

"We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our U.S. flight operations as soon as viable," the company said, adding it "is committed to our US operations and will continue to serve our 12 American gateways."

Emirates destinations in the U.S. are Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston Bush Intercontinental, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Newark Liberty, Orlando, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington Dulles.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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