Etihad and Emirates are faring very differently post the laptop ban

Etihad says demand remains strong on flights to US, but Emirates is pulling back in five cities

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, according to Arabian Business.

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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