Emirates Airline, the world’s biggest international air carrier by traffic, said Wednesday it is cutting flights to five U.S. cities because of a drop in demand since President Donald Trump sought to curb immigration from several Muslim-majority countries and imposed restrictions on passengers carrying electronic devices on flights to the United States.
The Dubai-based carrier said that over the last three months, as Trump assumed power in Washington, it has seen “a significant deterioration” in bookings to the U.S. It said that “as any profit-oriented enterprise would,” it has decided to cut service to the U.S. and instead move flights to other cities across the globe.
The U.S. in March cited terrorism threats as it banned air passengers from several Middle Eastern countries, including the United Arab Emirates, from carrying large electronic devices, such as laptops and tablets, in cabins on flights to the United States.
Earlier, Trump issued two orders, both blocked by U.S. courts, that sought to bar citizens from several majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., part of his effort to protect U.S. borders from new terrorist attacks and impose “extreme vetting” on immigrants looking to settle in the country.
The airline said “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.”
Emirates said it would trim service next month to two cities in Florida, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, from daily to five times a week. In June, it plans to cut twice-a-day service to Seattle and Boston to once a day and make the same reduction in flights to Los Angeles in July.