Today Dubai-based Emirates Airline announced that it would cut frequencies to five US cities in the wake of tanking demand due to the laptop ban and Trump’s attempts to ban travelers from certain Muslim countries.
It’s important to note that Emirates is only cutting back on service– but not eliminating it on flights between Dubai and Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Orlando and Ft Lauderdale. The cutbacks (25 flights total) go into effect in May and June. So you can still “get there from here” but it won’t be as convenient.
Emirates’s service to other US cities will (so far) not be affected. It also flies to Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Late last year Emirates closed most of its US sales and marketing offices, laying off workers.
U.S. Carriers have been flighting against the incursion of the big three Middle East carriers (ME3) for years, so this could be a sign that those efforts, along with recent actions by Trump, are succeeding. The two other ME3 carriers are Etihad and Qatar Airways.
Etihad has already been scaling back in the US— for example, its B777 nonstops between SFO and Abu Dhabi are down to just 2-3 times per week. It also announced layoffs and other cutbacks back in December.
Since much of the ME3 carriers business is involved in transporting people to and from India, carriers that fly there are likely beneficiaries. For example, Air India is likely killing it on the SFO-Delhi route. Lufthansa is no doubt lapping up the biz on its many connecting flights from the US which continue on to India. From the west coast, Asian carriers such as Cathay Pacific are likely getting travelers to India via its hub in Hong Kong.
Check out what Delta posted today on its website about this as part of its Partnership for Open & Fair Skies.
Emirates laid out its plans in a statement to Business Insider: “Emirates can confirm that we will be reducing flights to five of the 12 US cities we currently serve. From 1 May and 23 May respectively, our Fort Lauderdale and Orlando operations will move from daily services to five a week. From 1 and 2 June respectively, our Seattle and Boston operations will move from twice-daily services, to a daily service. From 1 July, our operations to Los Angeles will move from twice-daily to a daily service.”
How do you feel about this? Are you a frequent flier on Emirates or other gulf carriers?