Emirates Cutting U.S. Flights Due to Electronics Ban

CBJ — Emirates Airlines, the largest passenger aircraft company in the Middle East, will immediately start offering fewer flights to the U.S. The move is a direct response to dwindling demand following new U.S. rules banning passengers from bringing some portable electronics on flights from certain destinations.

Emirates will reduce flights to five of its 12 U.S. destinations. It called the move a “commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand” stemming from news last month that the U.S. would mandate that small electronics will no longer be allowed on board flights from 10 cities in eight Middle Eastern and North African nations.

The official reason for the ban cited security concerns that such devices could be used to take over or otherwise harm a flight, but critics said it was a backhanded way of making flights on some airlines less desirable, which would help U.S. carriers.

No U.S. carriers offer direct flights to any of the affected cities, and they have complained bitterly that airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad are unfairly subsidized by their governments.

Currently, Emirates offers 126 flights between Dubai and the U.S. But that number will now be cut to 101 after the changes, which include: a reduction in Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angles, and Seattle, from twice daily to once daily. It also means a reduction in flights to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, from once daily to five per week.