Emirates cuts flights to US in wake of electronics travel ban
20 April, 2017, 06:32
The biggest airline in the Middle East says it will immediately start offering fewer flights to the USA, a direct response to dwindling demand following new US rules banning passengers from bringing some portable electronics on flights from certain destinations.
Emirates will not cut any of its 12 USA destinations, but it will pare the number of flights it flies to five of those.
The U.S. administration also introduced new security measures in March banning electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from being taking into aircraft cabins on direct flights to the United States from several Middle East locations. Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori would not comment when asked on Tuesday if that target could change due to the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration.
Twice daily Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angles and Seattle will be reduced to once a day.
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Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, told CNN that the security protocols will be "hugely disruptive" and he questioned why only some airlines and airports are singled out.
Following the travel ban, the USA slapped 9 airlines flying from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa - including the three Gulf carriers - with an order prohibiting larger electronic devices in the cabin of aircraft.
US President Trump's policies towards Gulf airlines and worldwide isolation is claiming its first victim: Emirates airline.
"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 worldwide flight connections", the statement continued.
Before the start of 2017, Emirates said its USA operations had seen "healthy growth and performance".
- Fort Lauderdale-Dubai: Starting May 1, two flights will be trimmed from the existing daily service. The airline was recently ranked "best in the world" by TripAdvisor. Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared down to five per week. And on July 1, its twice-daily service from Los Angeles will also switch to a daily frequency.
"The aftermath of 9/11 taught us that we can't take either global understanding or U.S. market share for granted", said Jonathan Grella, executive vice president the U.S. Travel Association.
"Until the start of 2017, Emirates' operations in the U.S. have seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high quality product and our worldwide flight connections".
"However, over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our United States routes, across all travel segments".
It said it is responding as "any profit-oriented enterprise would" and will use the capacity freed up by the culled routes elsewhere on its network.