Emirates trims USA flights after Trump administration curbs

Posted April 20, 2017

The airline will not be cutting any of its 12 U.S. destinations, but it will scale back the number of flights to each location.

Emirates Airlines, the largest global airline by passenger traffic, said on Wednesday it was cutting flights on five US routes after restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump's administration on some air travel had weakened demand.

It called the move "a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand", and also relates to controls on electronic devices carried by passengers travelling to the US. The airline will make the same cuts to flights to Boston and Los Angeles; daily flights to Orlando and Ft. In June, Emirates will move from twice-daily services to Seattle and Boston to just one daily flight.

"Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our USA routes, across travel segments", the airline said.

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.

Emirates said it had seen "healthy growth and performance" until the start of 2017.

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Emirates reported steady USA growth for several years before Trump was elected but said its bookings had declined significantly over the last three months, BI reported. They also say the ME3 are in violation of the Open Skies agreements that govern air travel between the USA and 120 nations including the UAE and Qatar.

Emirates and other state-owned Gulf carriers have been a frequent target of USA rivals who accuse them of competing unfairly by taking government subsidies.

Emirates, a Dubai-based airline, has announced it will begin operating the world's longest regularly scheduled nonstop flight.

The January order was blocked by a judge in Seattle amid mass protests worldwide. Emirates is the largest buyer of the forthcoming Boeing 777-X series of higher tech airliners, a design which like the current 777 models, has been largely rejected by American carriers.

Jill Zuckman, a spokeswoman for the "Partnership for Open & Fair Skies" campaign opposing more US routes for the Gulf carriers, was quick to seize on Emirates' decision.

Emirates said the recent actions taken by the U.S. government have had a direct impact on consumer demand into the United States. "And the Global Business Travel Association says in just the first week following the president's January 27 travel ban, the US lost almost $200 million in business travel bookings".