Emirates cuts flights to US as demand weakens

A passenger buys a ticket at an Emirates Airline counter in Los Angeles, California, on March 21, 2017.
A passenger buys a ticket at an Emirates Airline counter in Los Angeles, California, on March 21, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (AFP) - Emirates, the Middle East's largest airline, said on Wednesday (April 19) 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 spokesman 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.