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Emirates Cuts Flights to U.S. Following Drop in Demand

21 April 2017, 02:51 | Terri Saunders

Emirates reducing US flights amid 'weakened travel demand'

Emirates airline passenger jet taxis on the tarmac at Dubai International airport in Dubai United Arab Emirates. The Middle East's biggest airline says it is reducing flights to the United States because

On Wednesday, Emirates airline, which is based in Dubai, announced that it will reduce its service to the United States due to a drop in demand to five of the 12 us cities it now serves.

"The decision by the Dubai government-owned carrier is the strongest sign yet that tougher measures imposed on US -bound travelers from the Mideast are taking a financial toll on fast-growing Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the United States in recent years", writes the AP's Adam Schreck on FoxNews.com.

The UK has included a similar electronics ban on flights from certain destinations in the Middle East, but this does not cover Dubai.

Trump signed a revised executive order last month banning citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entry.

Meanwhile, the airline said it would cut the number of direct flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando to five a week in May from the present one a day.

"Until the start of 2017, Emirates' operations in the United States have seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high quality product and our global flight connections".

Just a day after Emirates airlines announced that it was reducing some of its underperforming USA routes, America's "Big 3" carriers had strong words for the airline.

Emirates has confirmed plans to reduce frequencies on five of its 12 U.S. routes, blaming "recent actions taken by the USA government". But the new rules seem to be eating into demand regardless, which is why the airline said it was cutting back.

Gulf carriers such as Emirates, which has worked hard to boost its image in the U.S and even tapped actress Jennifer Aniston as a spokeswoman, have been scrambling to contain the fallout from the Trump administration's new security measures.

Emirates Airline has announced that it will be reducing the number of flights it sends to the U.S.

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In Seattle and Boston, service will be down to one daily flight from two starting June 1 and 2, respectively.

Dubai-based Emirates confirmed this week it would be reducing flights to five of the 12 USA cities it now serves due to weakened travel demand. The airline announced today that it is slashing more than half of its USA gateway routes of nonstop flights from Dubai.

The move from Emirates comes a little over a week after outrage erupted stemming from United's treatment of a passenger on an overbooked flight - who, after refusing to give up his ticketed seat, was knocked unconscious and dragged off the flight by airport security. Al Baker also maintained "the electronics ban would not make flying to the US any safer".

"For consumers it means higher prices, fewer choices, less connectivity", Mitchell said.

He said the decision to cut flights to five cities was a temporary response to a drop in demand, and does not signal a desire by Emirates to halt its expansion in the world's largest aviation market.

The Gulf airlines have enjoyed rapid growth in their US operations in recent years. The Gulf carriers boast the largest fleet of wide-body, long-haul airliners in the world.

Despite a vigorous lobbying and public relations campaign, the USA carriers were unable to persuade the Obama administration to block further expansion by Gulf airlines.

"Market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly", says a spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, which is backed by the three USA airlines and their unions.

As the New York Times reports, yesterday President Trump signed an executive order calling for a reexamination of the U.S.'s H-1B visa program that now brings in 85,000 skilled foreign workers a year.

In a nutshell, the statement boils down to a quote from Sir Tim Clark, Emirates president: "The subsidy allegations put forward by the Big 3 are patently false". "Every limiting security message needs to be offset by a honest welcome to legitimate, lawful travelers".



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