January 25, 2018 / 9:42 AM / 7 months ago

Emirates restores some capacity on U.S. routes as demand returns

DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates will increase the number of flights to some U.S. cities, it said on Thursday, in a sign that demand dented by the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration could be returning.

Emirates Airline's Airbus A380 arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after its maiden flight August 1, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East

Emirates cut frequencies to five U.S. cities last year, blaming new U.S. restrictions on citizens of some Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., and curbs on carrying large electronic devices in passenger jet cabins.

The Middle East’s largest airline plans to restore daily flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from its Dubai hub from March 25, having been cut back to five a week last year.

This increase reflects the “steady rebound in customer demand,” Emirates said in a statement.

The U.S. restrictions largely affected Middle East carriers. Rival Etihad Airways announced last year it would cancel flights to San Francisco and Dallas Forth Worth.

The electronics restrictions were lifted in July 2017, though a third version of a policy banning citizens of some countries from entering the U.S. remains.

Emirates did not say when it plans to increase services to Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, which were also reduced last year.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our U.S. flight operations as soon as viable,” an Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters.

The airline also said Thursday that it would add a daily, direct Boeing (BA.N) 777 service to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey from June 1 but drop one of its four daily Airbus (AIR.PA) A380 flights to nearby New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport from March 25.

Emirates already operates a daily flight to Newark via Athens, Greece from Dubai, and one of its remaining three daily New York flights is operated via Milan, Italy from Dubai.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Keith Weir

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