Emirates has confirmed plans to restore services to the US axed following a US government ban on laptops in cabin luggage on flights from the Middle East and Turkey earlier this year.
The ban in March triggered a fall in passengers, leading Emirates to cut flights to five US cities from May. The US lifted the ban in July following the imposition of new security regimes at affected airports.
Emirates president, Sir Tim Clark, said traffic to the US had recovered “almost to previous levels”.
Announcing the move in London, Clark said: “It has been a good story, a lot better than we thought it would be.”
He added: “It has settled now. People are getting used to the new [security] protocols.”
Clark said the carrier would restore flights to Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and Fort Lauderdale within “six to nine months”.
However, Clark raised doubts about Emirates’ plans to expand through the purchase of more Airbus A380 superjumbos which are the workhorses of its fleet.
Airbus deepened doubts about the A380’s future in July when it announced it will cut production to one a month next year and to eight aircraft a year in 2019, down from 15 this year and 28 in 2016.
The manufacturer acknowledged it will lose money on producing the aircraft, which can be operated with 500-plus seats.
Emirates has almost 100 A380s in operation, approaching half the entire global A380s fleet since few other carriers operate more than handful of the aircraft.
And the Gulf carrier has more than 100 additional A380s on firm order, amounting to almost the entire outstanding order book.
Speaking at the Aviation Festival in London, Clark said: “We need copper-bottomed undertakings that Airbus will do everything they need to do to keep the A380 programme going. We don’t want to be left with aircraft that have no value.”
Airbus has offered Emirates an enhanced version of the A380 featuring some fuel-saving features and additional seating for another 80 passengers.
However, Emirates had sought a neo (new engine option) version of the A380 with more fuel-efficient engines.
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