DUBAI (Reuters) – Emirates airline has had to change flight attendant and pilot rosters on services to the United States following the sudden U.S. travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, an airline spokeswoman said Sunday.
“The recent change to the U.S. entry requirements for nationals of 7 countries applies to all travellers and flight operations crew,” the spokeswoman said in emailed comments. “We have made the necessary adjustments to our crewing, to comply with the latest requirements.”
A separate spokeswoman later told Reuters by phone the impact of the roster changes on the airline would be minimal due to its diverse workforce.
Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul airline, employs over 23,000 flight attendants and around 4,000 pilots from around the world including from the U.S., Europe and Middle East, the spokeswoman said.
The airline is owned by the government of Dubai, part of Muslim-majority and U.S. ally the United Arab Emirates. It flies daily from Dubai to 11 U.S. cities including New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, and will add a 12th U.S. destination in March.
Etihad Airways, based in the UAE’s Abu Dhabi, did not immediately comment on the impact of the ban on its flight crew. A Qatar Airways spokeswoman directed Reuters to a statement on its website that said passengers would need a green card or diplomatic visa to enter the U.S. Emirates and Etihad have a similar statement on their websites.
President Donald Trump signed an order on Friday suspending the entry of people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days.
The ban caught the airline industry off guard, according to the International Air Transport Association.
“To date, no Emirates crew has been impacted by the change,” the initial spokeswoman said. On Saturday, Emirates said that a “very small number” of its passengers travelling had been affected by the ban.
Emirates “continues to comply with the guidance provided to us by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection” and U.S. flights are operating to schedule, the airline said on Sunday.
(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, editing by Larry King and Stephen Powell)