Etihad stays firm on US routes despite Trump’s laptop ban

Airline to upgrade its second daily Abu Dhabi-New York service to A380 from June 1
Etihad Airways to upgrade its second daily Abu Dhabi-New York service to A380 from June 1
By Parag Deulgaonkar
Thu 20 Apr 2017 09:21 AM

Etihad Airways has said it is not planning to cut services on its US routes, citing
strong demand despite US restrictions on travel and on-board electronics affecting
Middle East carriers such as Emirates.

The Abu Dhabi-based
airline has experienced “no significant change in demand” on flights to and
from the US in recent weeks, it said in a statement.

“Demand continues to
remain strong on all 45 weekly services between Abu Dhabi and its six US
gateways of New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and
Dallas,” it said.

The airline’s is set to
upgrade its second daily Abu Dhabi-New York service to an A380 from June 1,
making its twice-daily flights on the route an all superjumbo operation.

“This demonstrates our
ongoing commitment to the US market regardless of recent developments,” the
airline said.

However, Emirates said
it will cut flights to five of the 12 US cities it serves after demand deteriorated due to the US
electronics ban.

The Dubai-based
airline said it will reduce capacity to Boston, Los Angeles,
Seattle, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in the coming weeks and will re-deploy the
capacity to serve demand on other routes across its global network.

Thierry Antinori,
Emirates’ chief commercial officer, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that growth in
China was helping it offset headwinds in the US with double-digit increases in
demand.

But in his speech in
Montreal last week, International Air Transport Association (IATA) chief
executive Alexandre de Juniac also questioned the US and UK ban on laptops in
cabin baggage on certain flights, saying: “Why don't the US and the UK have a
common list of airports? How can laptops be secure in the cabin on some flights
and not others especially on flights originating at a common airport?”

IATA February report
revealed Middle Eastern carriers saw their “strongest” growth globally, with a
9.5 percent demand increase in passenger numbers year ago with capacity rising
7 percent and load factor climbing for four consecutive months to 74.3 percent.

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