Emirates scales back US services

Hannah Edensor

Emirates has scaled back its US services as a result of the Trump travel ban, citing weaker demand as a catalyst for the decision.

Emirates is reducing its US flights to five of the 12 cities they currently fly to, including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Seattle, Boston and L.A.

From May 1, Fort Lauderdale drops from daily services to five per week, while from May 23, Orlando services also decrease to five per week.

From June 1 and 2 respectively, Seattle and Boston operations move from twice-daily to just once daily services, while from July 1, Emirates Los Angeles flights will also drop from twice-daily to daily.

A statement from Emirates said, “This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US.

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.

“Until the start of 2017, Emirates’ operations in the US have seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high quality product and our international flight connections.

“However, over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments. Emirates has therefore responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would, and we will redeploy capacity to serve demand on other routes on our global network.

“We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our US flight operations as soon as viable.”

Emirates will continue to serve its 12 American gateways — New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando – with 101 flight departures per week.

But per Business Insider, the US airlines have responded by laughing at Emirates’ decision.

In a statement from the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies (the organisation that speaks on behalf of American, Delta and United) said it was “laughable” that Emirates considers itself a “profit-oriented enterprise”.

The partnership’s chief spokesperson, Jill Zuckman, claimed the Middle Eastern carriers are just instruments for “their governments’ goal to dominate global aviation” and don’t operate with consideration for profit.

“The fact is, market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly,” Zuckman claimed.

“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.

That Emirates would refer to itself as ‘profit oriented’ is simply laughable.

It’s not the first time the US carriers have taken a stab at Emirates, and it’s a somewhat petty attack considering the world of trouble United is in and Emirates recently being named TripAdvisor’s best airline in the world.

Meanwhile, Etihad Airways has confirmed there’ll be no change in its own US services.

“Etihad Airways has experienced no significant change in demand on flights to and from the United States in recent weeks,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

“Demand continues to remain strong on all 45 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and its six US gateways of New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.

“Effective 1 June, Etihad Airways’ second daily Abu Dhabi – New York service will be upgraded to an A380, making its twice-daily flights on the route an all superjumbo ‎operation.

“This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the US market regardless of recent developments.”