Emirates Cuts Capacity To Florida… Again

Filed Under: Emirates

This is a rather curious move. Last April Emirates announced that they’d drastically cut capacity to the US. They claimed that this was due to a combination of increased immigration measures in the US, as well as the electronics ban that was in place for a while on US-bound flights. At the time, the airline announced the following capacity changes:

  • Dubai to Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, were reduced from twice daily to once daily
  • Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando were reduced from daily to 5x weekly

Since then, Emirates’ president has been quoted as saying that demand has picked up again and normalized. In January it was announced that daily flights would be restored to both Florida cities as of March 25, 2018. However, their routes to Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, continue to be operated once daily rather than twice daily.

Emirates has just made a surprising update to their schedule, which undoes the restored capacity. As of July 2018, Emirates will once again be reducing their flights from Dubai to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from daily to 5x weekly. While certain routes are no doubt seasonal, this seems to be a permanent cut. That means Emirates’ US capacity is back to what it was following the electronics ban.

It’s also interesting to note that from August 26 through September 30, 2018, Emirates’ Dubai to Seattle route will be downgraded from a Boeing 777-300ER to a Boeing 777-200LR. This will be one of the newly reconfigured 777-200LRs featuring the newer business class seats. This means that the Seattle route will be losing first class for a few weeks, since the reconfigured 777-200LRs don’t have first class. The overall capacity will be reduced from 354 seats to 302 seats, though at least it will be a marginally better experience in business class.

US capacity for Emirates isn’t just flat compared to what it was following the electronics ban, it’s actually down. As of this summer Emirates is launching nonstop flights between Newark and Dubai using a 777, though in the process they’re cutting one of the daily nonstop flights between New York JFK and Dubai, which was operated by an A380.

Of the Gulf carriers, Emirates seems most focused on operating their route network in a way that’s as profitable as possible, so it’s not surprising to see them make these adjustments. Routes between the US and Middle East just aren’t that high yield, and Emirates doesn’t want to capacity dump too much.

Are you surprised to see Emirates once again cut frequencies to the US?

  1. I can see Seattle not be restored given that Air Canada is now flight 3 times a week to Dehli direct from Vancouver year around. This would presumably cut into Emirates on that route given that a number of passengers i am sure would have been connecting to India from Vancouver

  2. AS redemption SEA-DXB in lie-flat J, connecting to a 388 onward? What’s not to like?! I only wish they would make the equipment change permanent!

  3. Interesting to note that the 777-200LR to serve Seattle probably will come from the DXB-GRU-SCL route (which is seeing the 777-300ER for the exact same period).
    Such a shame to me, as I’m booked in the South American route in September as so will miss the “new” business class seats.

  4. Ultra long routes are difficult to make profits on to begin with and the hot weather in DXB for much of the year doesn’t help with profit margins.

    On a slightly tangential note, I just flew Emirates (five flights) in March and am saddened to report that there is a noticeable deterioration in the product. I’ll write a fuller report later, but (1) three of four flights were delayed– one by 4 hours due to malfunctioning computer; (2) The ICE system, easily one of the best in the world, is beginning to show its age. On older aircraft, the quality is no longer competitive; in newer aircraft it’s superb, but a number of breakdowns. (3) Crew are increasingly hit or miss. Don’t get me wrong. Still pretty stellar overall in its offering, but compared to the seamless excellence they offered, hiccups are becoming all too common.

    Oh, and last point, ground crew at Milan Malpensa is ATROCIOUS. Error after error and delay after delay. Long lines of waiting passengers, yet one person at the desk.

    Lucky, I was invited by the purser to write to EK management but do you have any recommendations for anyone specific to write to?

  5. This isn’t entirely surprising. I have nothing against the ME3 but what EK has in many US markets is essentially, capacity dump. A lot of these markets are questionable at best.

  6. @Alisson

    I’m booked on GRU-SCL in July and it shows the 777-200LR
    I hope they do not change the equipment.

    PS: Emirates is reducing in US and adding the second DXB-GRU. One operates with an A380 and the other with the B777.

  7. Don’t these changes prove DL argument that Emirates was operating flights to the US at a loss? If A380’s aren’t profitable flown to the US , how can you make a profit with 150 of those to smaller markets?

  8. @George

    As far as I can remember, the 300ER is scheduled from August 26th to September 30th, so hopefully you’ll be spared.

  9. @JoeMart – Not remotely. It doesn’t even “prove” that their capacity to the US was too high – merely that they can get better results using the aircraft elsewhere.

    I also don’t follow the logic behind your suggestion that Dubai to the US not being profitable therefore means Dubai to everywhere else in the world is unlikely to be profitable?

  10. The SEA change from a 777-300 to a 777-200 is due to runway work at SEA. One runway closed and the other is shorter so necessitates a lower capacity for take off weight etc.

  11. I fly LHR-DXB often for work and am always astounded by how many A380’s I see on the tarmac – granted I arrive early morning local time but – they’re everywhere any spare piece of tarmac and you see an A380 there. It does make one think they have too many of them.

  12. My son works at both DXB and DWC and the amount of EK 777 sitting there as storage is amazing..
    Maybe a fire sale soon on 777

  13. @Deb: I’ve heard that too. But I think some of the 77Ws are coming back from DWC now.

    I didn’t know that aircraft are also stored at DXB though. Where are they typically parked?

  14. Not surprising on the Florida news since there are many carriers that reduce or eliminate summer service due to reduction in overall demand. When cuts happen in Florida in the summer, it’s always expected.

  15. Routes online is today reporting a lot more frequency reductions by Emirates – including to places like London, Munich and Oslo, which I imagine are not seasonally-linked.

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