Emirates to cut flights to US cities after flagging demand

Emirates will cut flights to five of US cities as demand deteriorated after US restrictions on travel and on-board electronics affecting Middle East carriers and passengers.

The world’s biggest international airline will reduce capacity to Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in the coming weeks, the Dubai-based company said in a statement. Emirates will re-deploy the capacity to serve demand on other routes across its global network.

“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 said in the statement. “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 move could be seen as a victory for moves by President Donald Trump’s administration to tighten travel policies. Emirates and other state-owned Gulf carriers have been a frequent target of US rivals who accuse them of competing unfairly by taking government subsidies. Emirates’ Dubai hub was one of the 10 airports impacted by a ban on electronics in carry-on luggage on US flights.

Services to Seattle, Boston and Los Angeles will drop to daily from twice daily, while Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will get five flights a week, compared with daily services now. The changes will be phased in starting on May 1.

Emirates, which serves 12 US cities as part of its network of more than 150 destinations worldwide, will “closely monitor” the situation with the “view to reinstate and grow” its US operations as soon as viable, it said.

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