Emirates airline will begin cutting its number of flights into the U.S. in May, saying demand has slowed since President Donald Trump’s executive orders affecting entry visas and carrying electronics such as laptops and tablets onto U.S.-bound flights.
Five cities out of 12 will see cuts, according to Business Insider, and the number of flights will be reduced rather than stopped altogether. The cities affected include Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Seattle, Boston, and Los Angeles.
“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to [the] U.S.,” an Emirates representative told Business Insider. "The recent actions taken by the U.S. 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 U.S."
Emirates reported steady U.S. growth for several years before Trump was elected but said its bookings had declined significantly over the last three months, BI reported.
America’s three largest airlines may welcome Emirates’ move, since they had previously complained about competition from Middle East-based airlines including Emirates, which are all subsidized heavily by their respective governments, BI reported.
Etihad Airways, a rival of Emirates, said it had not experienced a drop in demand and wouldn’t reduce flights to the six U.S. cities it serves at this time, Reuters reported. Qatar Airways did not comment on Emirates’ move or its own plans.
Although Trump’s travel ban was blocked by the courts and isn’t currently impacting travelers, news about the ban may be impacting travelers’ willingness to fly to the U.S.
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