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Delta Eliminates Daily Service to Dubai, Blames Gulf Carriers

Delta Eliminates Daily Service to Dubai, Blames Gulf Carriers
Joe Cortez

Delta blames Gulf carriers for its decision to reduce service from Atlanta to Dubai.

Delta Air Lines is reducing service to Dubai this winter and says the “Middle East Three” carriers are to blame. Starting October 1, the legacy airline will only operate four or five nonstop flights from its main hub of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) per week.

Delta began flying its ATL-DXB route in 2007 and has offered daily service between the two airports since 2008. According to Delta, exponential growth among the ME3 — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — has forced them to reduce the number of flights to Dubai, noting an overall drop in capacity throughout the Middle East and Africa.

“The reduction comes amid overcapacity on U.S. routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and subsidized airlines,” Delta spokesperson Trebor Banstetter told Reuters. Under the reduction, Delta will operate no more than five flights to DXB per week throughout the winter, but will resume daily service in spring of 2016.

The reduction in service is the latest move by Delta in the ongoing Open Skies situation. Delta, along with fellow legacy carriers American Airlines and United Airlines, claim the ME3 received over $42 billion in illegal subsidies, allegedly allowing the carriers to grow quickly and exploit Open Skies agreements between the Gulf governments and the U.S. The ME3 have repeatedly spoken out against the claims.

With the reduction in service, United will be the only legacy airline operating daily nonstop service between the U.S. and DXB this winter. Emirates operates direct flights from nine American cities to DXB, while Etihad and Qatar Airways flies direct from their hubs at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) and Doha International Airport (DOH), respectively.

[Photo: Delta Air Lines]

View Comments (22)


  1. joecool1885

    August 11, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Wouldn’t it be great if their government gave them another $42 billion so that they could do U.S domestic flights and eliminate Delta altogether? (Hint: the answer is yes)

  2. SteveinA2

    August 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Delta screw their frequent flyer program and then wonder why they loose business? GO ME3

  3. SteveinA2

    August 11, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    lose not lose -Fat fingers LOL – but doesn’t mitigate the point. Delta treat their customers so badly – times are good no one cares – times get harder Delta lose big.

  4. fedup flyer

    August 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Just look to the US Merchant Marine Fleet for the answer.

  5. ccyao

    August 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Let all those 5 star airlines fly domestic in the USA for a couple of years and see if anyone wants to fly those US legacies after that time.

  6. ashkale

    August 11, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    And I suppose the Japanese govt is to be blamed for the Haneda- Seattle debacle?

  7. wavery83

    August 12, 2015 at 1:05 am

    I can’t see many pax losing much sleep over this? Who would chose Delta out of choice?

    I can see some point in what they are saying by protesting over flights which only started in 07 and to the home of one of the ME carriers. What is your point Delta?

  8. notsosmart

    August 12, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Maybe the ME3 are being subsidized. Maybe. But what do you call US bailouts of its legacy carriers and bankruptcy restructuring that wipes out debt? Isn’t that basically a bailout?

    DL UA AA are whining because they can’t compete. Plain and simple.

  9. rylan

    August 12, 2015 at 5:19 am

    Sure, blame the other governments instead of looking at how your service doesn’t come close to competing with the ME3 airlines. Sure the 777 is nice, but the seating arrangement is the first ones that Delta put flat beds in, and they are really showing their age. Why fly Delta’s gen-1 flat beds and cramped coach for the same price when you can fly on an the competition with newer flat bed suites and better in flight service and amenities.

  10. mre5765


    August 12, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Why doesn’t delta build a hub in dxb and compete?

  11. Sabai

    August 12, 2015 at 6:52 am

    oh boo hoo. Given better options who would fly Delta?

  12. JW76

    August 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

    No one will miss Delta or their crybaby CEO.

  13. edgewood49

    August 12, 2015 at 9:02 am

    And they expect the pubic to believe this crap? Anderson is just digging himself deeper and deeper.

    At this point it resembles a school yard fight with one big sore loser DL

  14. 98103

    August 12, 2015 at 10:30 am

    None of DL’s arguments about the ME3 hold water. They have made a determination that the demand doesn’t support THEIR flight. Shifting blame is a poor tactic that only the gullible will swallow. I’d agree that it is true there isn’t demand to support their flight, in part because of their on-board service. ME3 do well here because they have found a demand they can fill, namely service to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. How many destinations does DL fly in those areas?

  15. texmanufan

    August 12, 2015 at 11:45 am

    In Dubai right now where I will be connecting to a 16 hour flight home. With internet. Going home to see my very ill mother and it is very nice to know what is happening on the way. Completion like this should be eliminated.

  16. texmanufan

    August 12, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Competition, not completion. Combo of fat fingers and autocorrect.

  17. Abhinavt

    August 12, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    This cannot be right, winters is when the fares to India are the highest. Any positioning city to India i.e. AUH, DXB and others benefit from this influx of Indians going back to their homeland. Example, fare on Etihad and Emirates is 700 – 1000 in Aug, Sep Oct but shoots upto 1500 – 2000 in Dec and Jan.

  18. edgewood49

    August 12, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Lastest load factors are running about 80% so DL that looks pretty good to me

  19. georgeroads

    August 12, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    When I whine about the legacy carriers service and equipment nothing changes so why should we care about their whining.

  20. emcampbe

    August 12, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Why do the US airlines blame the ME3 for everything?

    Is it possible that DL is losing the competition on this route, or the demand to DXB just isn’t there for 2 US-based carriers + Emirates to serve this route daily?

    While I’m sure more people would fly DL if Emirates didn’t serve as many US destinations as they do, how many people flying this route on all carriers are actually terminating in DXB. My guess is not a ton. A lot of the Emirates pax are continuing onward – to destinations that DL or US carriers don’t serve at all – for example, smaller (and bigger) cities in India, places in Pakistan, other Middle East cities, etc.

    So DL isn’t able to continue the route daily? Great – rather than complaining, why not simply take the aircraft and use it on a more profitable route?

  21. ramraideruk

    August 13, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Why would anyone want to fly on decrepit planes with even more decrepit staff? They are losing out because ‘Customer Service’ is a complete oxymoron to themselves. Good luck to E3.

  22. Indelaware

    August 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    EK has connecting traffic to support its hub at DXB. DL does not have any partners operating ex-DXB to points beyond DXB. Those wishing to fly DL to points in other points in Southwest Asia or to points in South Asia connect onto partners at AMS, LHR, CDG, FCO, SVO & Etc.

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