FORT LAUDERDALE -- Emirates will increase frequencies on
flights to the U.S. this month for the first time since reducing U.S. service
last April in response to Trump administration policies.
"Demand is back up," Emirates vice president of
North American sales Matthias Schmid said. "We see very, very strong
demand, and we are again in a position to manage some moderate growth in the
On March 25, Emirates will increase frequencies on its
Dubai-Fort Lauderdale and Dubai-Orlando routes from five times per week to
daily. Then on June 1, the carrier will begin using an Airbus A380 jumbo jet on
its Houston route, switching out the Boeing 777-300.
Last April, Emirates cut frequencies on five of its 12 U.S.
routes, saying a decline in demand was caused by the carry-on ban the U.S. had
instituted on electronics larger than a laptop and the Trump administration's
attempt to ban travel to the U.S. for nationals of six Muslim-majority
The carry-on ban ended last July.
Schmid made his remarks as Emirates showed off its newly
reconfigured Boeing 777-200LR to South Florida media and travel agents at Fort
Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport on Tuesday. The carrier invested $150 million to
reconfigure its 10 777-200LRs, then launched the new product on March 6 on the
Fort Lauderdale route. Fort Lauderdale is the only U.S. route where Emirates
will fly the reconfigured aircraft, however.
The refurbished 777s no longer have a first-class cabin.
Instead, they have a business-class cabin of 38 seats and a 264-seat economy
Schmid said that eliminating first class allowed Emirates to
increase the total seats on its 777-200LRs from 266 to 302.
The business class features entertainment screens that have
been enlarged from 17 inches to 23 inches and seats that have been widened by
two inches. The cabin is laid out in a 2-2-2 formation, getting rid of the
middle seats. However, there are two seats per row that don't have aisle
access, a configuration that other airlines are moving away from.
Schmid said that eliminating middle seats was a bigger
priority for business-class customers.
"I think we are listening to the feedback that we get,"
Economy seats in the aircraft have been refurbished with new
colors. Each seat has leather headrests and flexible side panels.