Middle East

Emirates Cuts Flights to U.S. Following Visa Restrictions and Electronics Ban

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER
Tis Meyer/Planepics.org

Emirates announced that it will reduce flights to five of the twelve U.S. destinations they fly to beginning next month.

The Dubai-based airline blames a drop in demand on tougher US security measures and Trump administration attempts to ban travelers from some Muslim-majority nations. This was the strongest sign yet that new rules about US-bound travelers from the Middle East could be taking a financial toll on fast-growing Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the United States.

The cuts will reduce the number of US-bound flights from Dubai to 101, from the current 126. Twice-daily Emirates flights to Los Angeles, Boston and Seattle will be reduced to once a day. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared to five per week.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies made the following statement today about Emirates’ plans to cut flights to the U.S.:

“The fact is, market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly. It is well known that the Gulf carriers, including Emirates, lose money on most of their flights to the United States and are propped up by billions of dollars in government cash,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies.

“Their business model is based on growing their networks without regard to profitability in order to serve their governments’ goals to dominate global aviation. A perfect example is Emirates’ most recent route between Athens, Greece and Newark, N.J., a money-losing flight that is only possible because of government subsidies. That Emirates would refer to itself as “profit oriented” is simply laughable.”

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies is a coalition that includes American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, along with the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Communications Workers of America, and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

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