Emirates Airline will cut capacity to five US cities from May, as demand weakens following travel-related restrictions rolled out by the US government.
The Dubai-based carrier will reduce flights to Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Orlando and Seattle, says an Emirates spokesperson.
From 1 May and 23 May respectively, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be cut to five-times weekly from daily service. On 1 and 2 June respectively, Seattle and Boston will be halved to daily service.
On 1 July, Emirates will also reduce its twice-daily Los Angeles to once daily.
“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to the US,” says Emirates’ spokesperson.
“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.”
Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump signed executive orders to restrict travel into the US by nationals of up to seven Muslim-majority countries. The orders were subsequently blocked by US courts.
In May, the Trump administration announced a ban on large electronic devices in carry-on luggage on US flights from 10 airports, including Emirates’ Dubai hub.
“Over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments,” says Emirates’ spokesperson, adding that the airline will reinstate and resume US growth if it’s viable.
The airline serves 12 US destinations, and is the only carrier operating nonstop between Dubai and the USA. Emirates operates mostly Boeing 777s on the five routes where it is reducing capacity, except for Los Angeles where it will retain a once daily Airbus A380 flight, the airline’s schedules show.
Emirates, along with Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways, have been the target of a long-running campaign by three US carriers that accuse the Gulf carriers of receiving unfair state subsidies.
A lobbying group representing the interests of the US carriers – Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines – reiterates today its stance that Emirates had long operated loss-making flights on its US routes.
“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 US airlines and their unions.