DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The Middle East’s largest airline, Emirates has now decided to slash its flights to the United States by 20 percent following the intensified security measures and the travel ban that Trump administration is aiming at imposing.
Emirates has blamed a drop in demand on tougher U.S. security measures and Trump administration attempts to ban travellers from six Muslim-majority nations.
Emirates has said that the flight reductions will affect five of its 12 U.S. destinations and will start next month.
In a statement, Emirates said, “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.”
The carrier said that it had seen “healthy growth and performance” there until the start of the year.
However, that since Trump has been in office, there has been what the airline called “a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across all travel segments.”
It also added that it was responding as “any profit-oriented enterprise would” and will, therefore, use the capacity freed up by the culled routes elsewhere on its network.
In the revenue reportedly by Emirates for the fiscal year through the end of March 2016, the Americas region, including routes to Canada and Latin America, accounted for 14 percent of the $22.75 billion.
The company also disclosed that its half-year profit fell 75 percent to $214 million in the last period, through last September, before the U.S. election.
The cuts will now reduce the number of U.S.-bound flights from Dubai - from 126 to 101.
Further, the two daily Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle will fall to once a day and daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be reduced to five per week.
The move by the carrier owned by the Dublin government is one of the strongest signs so far that the new curbs imposed on U.S.-bound travellers from the Mideast could be affecting the fast-growing Gulf carriers financially.
Airlines from the region have, in the last few years, expanded rapidly in the U.S.
The electronic ban imposed earlier last month, first by the U.S. and then by the U.K. affected Dubai, one of the ten cities that were part of the Muslim-majority countries affected by the ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard the flights.
Further, the Dubai International Airport’s Emirates hub, which is the world’s third-busiest and a major transit point for travellers, was also affected by Trump’s executive orders temporarily halting entry to citizens of six countries.