Emirates to cut US routes after Trump travel restrictions
(ShareCast News) - Middle Eastern airline Emirates is to cut its flight routes to the US, citing concerns over restrictions brought in by Donald Trump's administration related to visa programmes and electronics.
Trump has signed two executive orders since moving into the Oval Office attempting to block entry into the country from a group of majority Muslim countries, but both were blocked by the US courts system.
The White House caused further irritation to carriers after the introduction of a ban on any electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on flights from several airports in the Middle East.
"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 US," a spokesperson for Emirates said.
"This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US."
A lobbying organisation which acts on behalf of some of the biggest airlines in the US criticised Emirates' decision, and accused it and other Middle Eastern carriers of being instruments of their governments.
The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, which includes American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, said on Wednesday that "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," POFS spokesperson Jill Zuckman said in a statement.
"Their business model is based on growing their networks without regard to profitability in order to serve their governments' goals to dominate global aviation."