Published time: 20 Apr, 2017 14:03
The Dubai-based airline Emirates has announced it has been forced to cut flights to the United States in the aftermath of President Donald Trump introducing travel restrictions.
"Emirates can confirm that we will be reducing flights to five of the 12 US cities we currently serve," said a spokesperson for the company.
Daily flights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida will be cut to five a week from daily flights. Flights to Seattle, Boston, and Los Angeles will now be once a day, instead of twice daily.
Trump signed an executive order last month toughening vetting procedures on citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. The order was rejected by American courts, but the administration said it will appeal.
Also in March, Washington banned laptops, tablets or any communication devices larger than a smartphone from being brought into the cabin of planes on direct flights to the US from ten airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, including the United Arab Emirates.
"Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments," said Emirates in a statement.
"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,” the company added.
Emirates is offering its premium travelers laptops on loan, but it hasn’t helped.
Emirates called itself a “profit-oriented enterprise," explaining the decision.
That drew a response from the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies — the lobbying organization that speaks on behalf of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. The lobby said Emirates calling itself profit-oriented is “laughable,” as it makes money-losing flights possible only because of government subsidies.
Since 2015, American, Delta, and United have complained about unfair competition from three Middle East-based competitors — Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways.