A month ago I wrote that the ban on laptops on flights from the Mideast had the effect of giving the largest U.S. airlines what they’ve been asking for: a limit on flights to the U.S. by Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar meaning:
- Less choice for consumers and higher prices
- Fewer tourists
- Reduced demand for Boeing aircraft
- Fewer passengers connecting on JetBlue and Alaska Airlines
All of this to the benefit of Delta, United, and American which are collectively already the most profitable airlines in the world, calling for protectionism for a mature industry with record high levels of employment.
Now Emirates has announced significant cuts to their U.S. schedule reducing service to 5 destinations.
“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US,” an airline representative told Business Insider. “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.”
Emirates is eliminating 25 flights a week to the U.S.:
- Fort Lauderdale drops from daily service to 5 times weekly effective May 1.
- Orlando drops from daily service to 5 times weekly effective May 23
- Seattle goes from 2 flights a day down to 1 effective June 1
- Boston goes from 2 flights a day down to 1 effective June 2
- Emirates is killing its second Los Angeles flight in July (it had already been suspended for May and June)
This is a 20% cut in number of flights operated by Emirates to the U.S.
Ironically the response by Emirates to reduced bookings that result from U.S. policy undermines the key arguments United, Delta, and American were making against it — that their decisions didn’t correspond to the business environment they faced. That was already clearly false, but now it’s been proven clearly to consumers. (If you have future bookings on Emirates you may need to make some adjustments.)
The electronics ban — which has been interpreted to cover noise cancelling headphones and even electric toothbrushes — does absolutely nothing for security.
Terrorists Can Circumvent the Laptop Ban by Flying Dubai – Baku – New York JFK instead of Emirates non-stop.. or simply by flying from Lagos, Nigeria on Delta, copyright: nordroden / 123RF Stock Photo
It may be genuinely motivated as a misguided policy, rather than as a giveaway to United, Delta, and American. But it serves to give them exactly what they’ve been after at the expense of their customers but couldn’t get on the merits.