Dubai-based Emirates Airlines is cutting flights to the U.S., citing President Donald Trump's travel restrictions that resulted in a decline in bookings from Middle Eastern countries.
"Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across travel segments. 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 said.
The reduction in flights by Emirates, the world's biggest carrier by international traffic, will take effect from May 1. The airline will pare flights to five U.S. cities.
Emirates' service to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle will be reduced to one a day from the current two, while flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be cut to five flights a week from the daily services now.
In January, Trump banned immigration to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, but it sparked confusion at airports and let to mass protests. A federal judge in Seattle temporarily suspended Trump's order, allowing refugees and visa holders from those seven countries to enter the U.S.
In the updated travel ban issued in early March, citizens of six majority-Muslim countries are still be barred from entering the U.S. for the next three months.
This was followed by a U.S. ban on large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights to the U.S. from eight Muslim-majority countries, citing terrorism concerns. The ban affected nine airlines, including Emirates.
Emirates had said in March that bookings to the U.S. plunged 35 percent following the first travel ban announced by Trump in January.
Emirates' decision to cut flights to the U.S. are expected to help U.S.- based carriers like Delta Air Lines, United Continental and American Airlines. These carriers have accused three Middle Eastern airlines - Etihad, Qatar Airways and Emirates - of benefiting from subsidies that their U.S. counterparts see as unfair.
by RTT Staff Writer
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