Thursday April 20, 2017
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Japanese tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty on the 130th anniversary of the dedication in New York October 31, 2016. — Reuters picJapanese tourists pose in front of the Statue of Liberty on the 130th anniversary of the dedication in New York October 31, 2016. — Reuters picDUBAI, April 20 — Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, said yesterday that it will reduce flights to the United States after tightened visa and security measures under President Donald Trump hit demand.

The Dubai-based airline said that it would cut services to five US cities — Los Angeles, Boston, Orlando, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale — starting from next month.

“This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US,” a spokesperson for the carrier said in a statement.

“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,” it added.

Travellers have expressed frustration at a carry-on ban on large electronic devices that took effect last month on US-bound flights mostly from the Middle East and North Africa.

It followed an attempt by Trump to impose a travel ban on refugees and on travellers from six Muslim-majority nations.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways in a statement published Wednesday by the official WAM news agency said demand for its 45 flights a week to the US “remains strong”. — AFP

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