Citing a variety of Trump Administration policies that have negatively impacted U.S. bound travel, Emirates announced that it would reduce flights to five of the 12 U.S. cities it currently serves. “Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S routes, across all travel segments,” Emirates said in a statement. “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.”
However, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, a coalition led by three major U.S. airlines and unions representing airline employees that has been critical of government-subsidized rivals like Emirates, dismissed the idea that the airline was making the change on the basis of profitability.
“The fact is, market demand has never played a role when the Gulf carriers decide where to fly. 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,” said Partnership spokesperson Jill Zuckman. “Their business model is based on growing their networks without regard to profitability in order to serve their governments’ goals to dominate global aviation. A perfect example is Emirates’ most recent route between Athens, Greece and Newark, N.J., a money-losing flight that is only possible because of government subsidies.”
The reduction in service, announced April 19, 2017, would take effect next month and will result in fewer flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Seattle, Boston, and Los Angeles.