Emirates feels brunt of electronics ban as US passenger traffic drops
GULF airline Emirates is beginning to face the repercussions of the controversial electronics ban implemented last month.
According to a Bloomberg report, the Gulf airline has seen its US traffic drop following the ban, an industry fear that has swiftly morphed into reality.
Emirates – also the world’s biggest international airline – is “coping” with the drop in numbers by focusing on traffic from other parts of the world.
Emirates’ chief commercial officer Thierry Antinori told the publication: “Growth in China is helping Emirates offset headwinds in the US. With double-digit increases in demand, the country has been a good growth story for Emirates.”
Emirates isn’t the only airline hit by the sudden ban. Qatar Airways announced earlier this week it recorded a 10 percent slump in US traffic, although chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker described the drop as “manageable”.
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The ban could also strike a blow to the lucrative business class market, a key segment that Gulf airlines depend on.
According to a Reuters report, business travelers who fork out top prices for flat beds and other perks may not want to check-in their laptops on long-haul trips.
According to the Washington DC-based Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), about 49 percent of business travelers prefer to stay connected and get work done while flying.
It said many companies advised staff traveling on business to keep their devices close because they may contain sensitive information.
“The corporate segment is the one that brings in more revenue. It’s sending the message we can’t travel on these airlines because we can’t do the work, so we might choose another airline,” said Euromonitor travel project manager Nadejda Popova.