updated 6:05 AM MDT, May 23, 2017
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Emirates cuts #US flights, including Seattle, blaming Trump

Emirates cuts US flights, including Seattle, blaming Trump

    Wed Apr 19th, 2017 12:27pmBusiness

By Adam Schreck / Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, slashed its flights to the United States by 20 percent Wednesday, blaming a drop in demand on tougher U.S. security measures and Trump administration attempts to ban travelers from some Muslim-majority nations.

The Dubai government-owned carrier’s decision is the strongest sign yet that new measures imposed on U.S.-bound travelers from the Mideast could be taking a financial toll on fast-growing Gulf carriers that have expanded rapidly in the U.S.

Dubai was one of 10 cities in Muslim-majority countries affected by a ban on laptops and other personal electronics in carry-on luggage aboard U.S.-bound flights.

Emirates’ hub at Dubai International Airport, the world’s third-busiest, is also a major transit point for travelers who were affected by President Donald Trump’s executive orders temporarily halting entry to citizens of six countries.

The latest travel ban suspended new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, and froze the nation’s refugee program. Like an earlier ban that also included Iraqi citizens, it has been blocked from taking effect by the courts.

Emirates said the flight reductions will affect five of its 12 U.S. destinations, with the first cutbacks starting next month.

“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.,” the carrier said in a statement.

Emirates does not provide financial data for its U.S. operations or individual routes, but said it had seen “healthy growth and performance” there until the start of the year.

Since Trump has been in office, however, there has been what it called “a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across all travel segments.”

It said it is responding as “any profit-oriented enterprise would” and will use the capacity freed up by the culled routes elsewhere on its network.

The Americas region, which also includes routes to Canada and Latin America, accounted for 14 percent of the $22.75 billion in revenue Emirates pulled in during the fiscal year through the end of March 2016.

Emirates’ half-year profit fell 75 percent to $214 million in the last period the company has disclosed, through last September — before the U.S. election. Executives cited increased investments including aircraft purchases and the repayment of bonds, and said a “bleak” economic outlook in many parts of the world was reducing travel demand.

Robert Mann, an aviation consultant in Port Washington, New York, said business travel between the U.S. and the Middle East has clearly been hurt by the ban on gadgets, while the attempted visa bans have put a damper on leisure travel from the countries targeted.

“Neither factor is a good thing for the Middle Eastern carriers who are primarily affected,” he said.

The cuts will reduce the number of U.S.-bound flights from Dubai to 101, down from 126 currently.

Twice daily Emirates flights to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle will fall to once a day. Daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando will be pared to five per week.

Andrew Lannon, a Canadian attorney based in Dubai, arrived in Fort Lauderdale for vacation on an Emirates flight Wednesday and said passengers had to check their electronics, which made the 18-hour flight difficult because he couldn’t work.

Passengers were then told upon landing they would have to wait on the plane for an hour while their bags were checked, but were then let off after 20 minutes, Lannon said, adding that it took another hour for most passengers to clear customs.

Kevin Mitchell, head of the Business Travel Coalition in the U.S., said all the Gulf carriers are probably losing business because of the security measures and attempted travel bans, and that will hurt consumers.

“For consumers it means higher prices, fewer choices, less connectivity,” Mitchell said.

Like its smaller Gulf rivals Qatar Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, Emirates has ramped up its U.S. presence and recently launched a new service to Newark via Athens.

Several big U.S. carriers and their pilot unions have bristled at the Gulf airlines’ U.S. push, accusing them of flooding the market with capacity while receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

Chemical attack in Syria and America’s continued military campaign

By Laksiri Fernando

The images emerged from Khan Sheikhoun in Syria and some unconfirmed reports indicate to possible chemical weapon use or sarin gas disposal in the alleged attacks on 4 April in the rebel held area in Idlib, North Western Syria. The images were most gruesome, babies and young children dying suffocated and in immense pain and suffering. The death toll is counted as 80 altogether. This was among hundreds and thousands of people who have died in this gruesome war in the Middle East. The images were similar to what have been emerging from the drought stricken Somalia and elsewhere in Africa where children were dying of hunger and sickness. There were no obviously direct ‘attacks or responsibilities’ other than the drought. The death toll however was counted in hundreds or even thousands throughout years without any national or international solution.

War and hunger due to poverty are two scourges that haunts the present world otherwise boasted about globalization, neo-liberalism and innovative technology. One advantage of technology however is the difficulty of the powers that be to hide the facts for too long although information is still distorted or presented in biased manner.

Suspects and Accusations

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

Yemen's president held 'captive' in house by shiite houthi rebels

A Houthi Shiite Yemeni stands guard in front of a building damaged during recent clashes near the presidential palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Yemen's U.S.-backed leadership came under serious threat Monday as government troops clashed with Shiite rebels near the presidential palace and a key military base in what one official called "a step toward a coup." (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) ORG XMIT: AHM101
Hani Mohammed
The Associated Press By The Associated Press

Shiite rebels in control of Yemen's capital now hold the country's president "captive" at his home, his aides said Wednesday, putting in question who actually rules the Arab world's most-impoverished nation.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East

They Create the monster : The rise of ISIS. VIDEO New Documentary


Produced and written by correspondent Martin Smith, “Rise of ISIS” goes back to the roots of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a.k.a. ISIS, and how U.S. officials failed to heed warnings about the problem, in part because of their legitimate misgivings about Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose behavior toward Iraqi Sunnis — described at one point as “paranoid” — helped build support for an extreme response.

  • Written by Abdullahi
  • Category: Middle East