Emirates, Etihad change pilots, crew to conform to US travel ban
The US travel ban imposed on seven Muslim-dominated countries by Donald Trump government has taken a huge toll on the global aviation sector with drop in passenger haulage reported in some of the airlines especially those owned by Muslim nations. Emirates and Etihad have both had some passengers denied boarding at various airports because such passengers were from the affected nation.
Emirates in particular had to change pilot and flight attendant rosters on flights to the U.S. following the sudden U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.
However, it said that U.S. flights would continue to operate as scheduled.
According to the Reuters report, “the world’s largest long-haul carrier, who flies daily to 11 U.S. cities, has made the necessary adjustments to our crewing to comply with the latest requirements”, Emirates spokesperson said.
President Donald Trump had on Friday temporarily suspended the entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
According to the International Air Transport Association, “the decision caught airlines off guard.’’
The ban applies to pilots and flight attendants from the seven countries, even though all flight crew who are not U.S. citizens already needed a special visa to enter the country.
Another Emirates spokesperson said the impact of the ban on operations would be minimal.
The airline employs over 23,000 flight attendants and about four thousand pilots from around the world, including the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.
Meanwhile, an Etihad Airways spokesman said the airline has “taken steps to ensure there will be no issues for flights departing over the coming weeks.”
However, amid confusion over enforcing the ban, it is unclear if the ban applies to dual nationals who hold one passport from a country on the list and another from a non-U.S. country that is not.
Etihad said on its website that dual citizens could travel to the U.S. using their non-banned passport.
According to the report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has told its members that the ban does not apply to dual nationals if they have a passport not on the list.
However, the Guardian reported on Saturday, quoting State Department officials, that dual nationals were banned.
Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways are both owned by the governments of the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally and Muslim-majority country.
Both carriers said they would continue to comply with the new rules on U.S. immigration but where possible would offer to refund or rebook affected passengers.
Emirates and Etihad have also said that passengers were affected by the ban over the weekend but their flight crews had not been impacted.
Qatar Airways declined to comment on the impact of the ban on flight operations.
Although, on Saturday, it issued a statement on its website that passengers would need a green card or diplomatic visa to enter the U.S. Emirates and Etihad issued similar statements.