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By Victoria Bryan
BERLIN, March 9 Emirates, the world's largest
long-haul carrier, said on Thursday it was concerned President
Donald Trump's latest travel order will still deter Muslim
visitors to America, after booking rates on U.S. flights fell 35
percent following January's ban.
Trump signed a new executive order on Monday, which takes
effect on March 16, keeping a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S.
by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
However, the order applies only to new visa applicants,
meaning about 60,000 people whose visas were revoked by the
previous order will now be permitted to enter. It also removed
Iraq from the list.
“I am concerned. It’s the tone of it. We have brought
millions of Muslims to the United States, but now they may not
feel welcome, they may look at going on holiday elsewhere,"
President Tim Clark told journalists in Berlin on the sidelines
of the ITB travel fair.
Akbar Al Baker, the chief executive of Gulf rival Qatar
Airways, said on Wednesday his airline had not seen a drop in
demand for U.S. flights.
"I make sure that when I deploy my planes, they are full,
that the passengers are allowed to go into and out of a
country," he said.
Demand for travel to the United States over the coming
months has flattened with flights to and from the Middle East
the hardest hit, a study released by travel analysis company
ForwardKeys showed on Monday.
The January order caused chaos and confusion at airports
worldwide, with the airline industry complaining about a lack of
clear and direct communication from U.S. officials.
Emirates, which flies to 11 U.S. cities, has not fully
recovered from the original Jan. 27 travel ban, suspended on
Feb. 3. "The effect it had was instantaneous,” Clark said.
He said the revised order issued this week offered more
clarity, and there had been some positive movement in bookings
on the Emirates network but not a full recovery.
“When will it recapture the original booking curve is
anyone’s guess,” he said, adding that he hoped for an
improvement in the summer after the usually quiet period during
the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Writing by Alexander Cornwell in
Dubai; Editing by Jane Merriman and Edmund Blair)