Emirates trims US flights

DUBAI. – Emirates, the largest international airline by passenger traffic, said on Wednesday it was cutting flights on five US routes after restrictions imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration weakened demand from the Middle East. Since taking office, Trump has signed two executive orders banning refugees and citizens from several Muslim-majority countries from visiting the United States. Although both moves were blocked by US judges, some travellers have been deterred.

The US administration also introduced new security measures in March banning electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from being taken into aircraft cabins on direct flights to the United States from several Middle East locations.

“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,” an Emirates spokeswoman said.

“Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments,” the Emirates spokeswoman said.

Rival carrier Etihad Airways said it had not seen any significant change in demand and had no plans at present to reduce flights to the six US cities it serves.

Fellow Gulf carrier Qatar Airways had no immediate comment when asked about any plans it had for its US routes. – Reuters.

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