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Emirates cuts US flights as Trump's travel ban knocks demand

International Business Times logo International Business Times 19/04/2017 Dan Cancian
Emirates Airlines © REUTERS/Ashraf Mohammad Emirates Airlines

Emirates has unveiled plans to reduce the number of flights to the US, blaming US President Donald Trump's immigration policy for a drop in demand.

The company, the largest commercial carrier in the Middle East said – starting in May – five of its 12 US destinations will be affected by the move, which it described as a "commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand" in the first three months of the Trump's administration.

Flights to the US from the Emirates' hub in Dubai will decline from 126 to 101, with daily services to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale scaled down to five a week, while flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle will operate once rather than twice a day.

"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 airline said on Wednesday (19 April).

Emirates is the first airline to publicly admit that the tighter security measures, imposed by the Trump administration, have had a financial impact on the industry, which has seen Gulf-based airlines outgrow their rivals over the last decade.

Dubai International Airport, the third busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic, is one of the main transit points for passengers travelling to the US from the Middle East. Demand, however, has declined sharply after Trump controversially decided to temporarily halt entry to the US for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Furthermore, Dubai was among the 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries to be hit by a ban on laptops and electronic devices in cabin bags on flights to the US.

The travel ban, however, has been blocked from taking effects by a number of US courts.

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