But the airline is still expected to post robust profits for its financial year ending in March after reporting a record US$925 million (Dh3.39bn) in first half profits.
Tim Clark, the president of the Dubai carrier, said flights across its global network were running 75 per cent full compared to a 82 per cent load factor typical of this time of the year. "The effect on the seat factor as a result of the unrest in the Arab world has been measureable the last six weeks," he said in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. "It's a pity because it's been a very strong year for us."
The regional instability has caused business travel to fall across the affected countries, which include Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, while Chinese business and tourist arrivals into the region have "disappeared", he said.
Emirates is the largest airline in the Middle East and the world's largest carrier measured by international capacity. "In April we'll be in good shape," Mr Clark predicted.