travel

Emirates cuts flights to US as demand weakens

Japanese tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty on the 130th anniversary of the dedication in New York October 31, 2016. — Reuters picJapanese tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty on the 130th anniversary of the dedication in New York October 31, 2016. — Reuters picDUBAI, April 20 — Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, said yesterday that it will reduce flights to the United States after tightened visa and security measures under President Donald Trump hit demand.

The Dubai-based airline said that it would cut services to five US cities — Los Angeles, Boston, Orlando, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale — starting from next month.

“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US,” a spokesperson for the carrier said in a statement.

“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,” it added.

Travellers have expressed frustration at a carry-on ban on large electronic devices that took effect last month on US-bound flights mostly from the Middle East and North Africa.

It followed an attempt by Trump to impose a travel ban on refugees and on travellers from six Muslim-majority nations.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways in a statement published Wednesday by the official WAM news agency said demand for its 45 flights a week to the US “remains strong”. — AFP

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