Arrivals & Departures Emirates reduces US flights due to travel restrictions

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Flights to five of the airline's 12 destinations in the United States will be affected from May.

Emirates will reduce the frequency of its flights to some American destinations due to restrictions introduced by the Trump administration, with the airline blaming resulting "weakened travel demand to the US".

“Emirates can confirm that we will be reducing flights to five of the 12 US cities we currently serve," the company said in a statement.

Services from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be reduced from daily to five times a week from May 1 and 23 respectively. From the beginning of June, Seattle and Boston flights will change from twice-daily to daily services, with services to Los Angeles following suit on July 1. 

"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.

In March, the US banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from cabin luggage on direct flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and north Africa, including Emirates' home base in the United Arab Emirates, affecting items such as laptops, tablets and cameras. 

This was followed by a similar ban on-board direct flights to the UK from some countries, although the UAE and Emirates airline were not affected by this.

The restriction followed controversial attempts by President Donald Trump to temporarily halt travel from a number of Muslim-majority nations via two executive orders, which were later blocked by US courts.

Emirates said it had seen "healthy growth and performance" in its US operations until the start of this year.

"However, over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments," it said.  

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

Emirates currently flies to from Dubai a total of 12 US destinations, including New York, Newark, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and Dallas. 

Since the electronics ban came into force, Emirates has attempted to ameliorate its affects by introducing a number of special services for passengers on affected flights. 

These include a tablet loan service for first and business-class passengers, and a free laptop and tablet-handling service that allows passengers in all cabin classes to use their device until just before boarding.

Similar services have been introduced by fellow major Middle Eastern carriers, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and Doha-based Qatar Airways.

Etihad has confirmed it will not be reducing its US services and plans to upgrade its second daily flight to New York to an A380 from June 1, according to Travel Weekly.

“Etihad Airways has experienced no significant change in demand on flights to and from the United States in recent weeks,” a spokesperson is quoted as saying.

Qatar Airways has seen a "manageable drop" in passengers as a result of the restrictions, as reported by CNN Money. However, it has not announced any changes to its US services.

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