Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Emirates Cuts Flights to the US Over Trump Administration Travel Restrictions

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Kelvin Reese | 21 April, 2017, 18:34

In addition to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, the flight reductions will affect three other of the 12 US cities it serves - Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle, Emirates said.

The move is "a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand", ever since Donald Trump became president, Emirates told the AP.

Daily flights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Orlando, Fla., will be cut to five a week.

Fort Lauderdale (May 1) and Orlando (May 23) operations will move from daily services to five a week.

Specifically, the partnership claims top Middle East carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airlines have received more than $50 billion in government subsidies over the past 12 years.

Clark said the drop in passenger demand was "significant".

"The fact is, market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly".

And probably not at all coincidentally, during the same week United took a beating for its customer service practices, Emirates was designated the "Best Airline in the World" at the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.

Although the airline did not specifically cite the Trump administration for its having to cut routes, it did say that numbers of travelers from Dubai to the U.S. significantly dropped beginning in January.

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"We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our USA flight operations as soon as viable", Emirates said.

It seems that we haven't seen the last of the recent travel and laptop ban fiasco that made big news last month following a change in travel policies set by United States president Donald Trump.

While exact numbers are not available, it appears that the hit to demand has been felt all the more drastically because of the growth the airline was enjoying leading up to inauguration day.

Planes on United States routes usually fly more than 80 per cent full in the summer season but are now "percentage points" less than that, hurting the flights' profitability, the Emirates president Tim Clark told media yesterday.

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

Emirates' cutback "comes just days after" Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson "warned that President Trump's immigration policies are damaging the USA tourism industry", point out Tanya Powley and Simeon Kerr for Financial Times.

Emirates does not provide financial details exclusively for its USA operations.

Like its smaller Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Emirates has ramped up its US presence and recently launched a new service to Newark via Athens. Emirates will re-deploy the capacity to serve demand on other routes across its global network.

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