One day after the president of Qatar Airways told CNN i that the ban on carry-on electronics was "not necessary to frighten passengers", Emirates has announced that it will reduce USA flights due to the Trump administration's restrictive policies.
Emirates' announcement comes after Donald Trump ordered a ban on travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria and Yemen.
The decision by the Dubai government-owned carrier is the strongest sign yet that the new measures imposed on USA -bound travelers from the Mideast are taking a financial toll on fast-growing Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the United States.
The reductions will impact five of its 12 US destinations, starting next month. Although both moves were blocked by U.S. judges, some passengers have been deterred from travelling.
Emirates will reduce service from twice-daily to daily on its Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle routes. The changes will begin in May on the Florida routes, in June on the Boston and Seattle routes and on July 1 for the Los Angeles routes. "It also reduced the demand for air travel into the U.S.", the government-owned carrier said in a statement. 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 and other state-owned Gulf carriers have been a frequent target of US rivals who accuse them of competing unfairly by taking government subsidies. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared down to five per week. However, over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our USA routes, across all travel segments. Executives cited increased investments including aircraft purchases and the repayment of bonds, and said a "bleak" economic outlook in many parts of the world was reducing travel demand.
Emirates said it will continue to monitor the situation "with the view to reinstate and grow our U.S. flight operations as soon as viable". The orders were blocked by US courts but only after days of chaotic scenes at airports around the world.
FILE- In this Wednesday, March 12, 2014 file photo, a stewardess stands inside an Emirates A380 aircraft, the world's largest passenger airline, during the fourth Indian Aviation show at Begumpet airport in Hyderabad, India.
Dubai-based Emirates said demand for travel to the USA has dropped because of the restrictions.