Emirates Airline will reduce flights to the US starting next month, citing a “significant deterioration” in demand for travel to the US since President Donald Trump took office three months ago.
Dubai-based Emirates will not drop service to any of the 12 US airports it serves, but it will reduce flight frequencies to five of the 12 destinations.
“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to the US,” an Emirates spokesperson said. “The recent actions taken by the US 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 US.”
Emirates said its operations to the US saw “healthy growth” through the end of 2016. “However, over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017. His administration has twice tried to impose temporary travel bans on residents from select countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, but both bans were blocked by US federal courts. Dubai International Airport is included in the 10 airports from which passengers traveling on nonstop flights to the US have been barred by the US Department of Homeland Security since late March from carrying on large electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets.
From May 1, Emirates’ flights to Fort Lauderdale, Florida will be reduced from daily to 5X-weekly. A similar cutback will occur on Emirates’ Orlando service from May 23. At the beginning of June, Emirates’ flights to Boston and Seattle will be cut from 2X-daily to daily. From July 1, flights to Los Angeles will also be cut from 2X-daily to daily.
“We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our US flight operations as soon as viable,” the Emirates spokesperson said.