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Emirates Debunks Open Skies Allegations, Calls U.S. Legacies’ Tactics “Repugnant”

Emirates Debunks Open Skies Allegations, Calls U.S. Legacies’ Tactics “Repugnant”
Joe Cortez

Emirates issues an official response to legacy carriers’ allegations, but the legacies claim the response does not absolve the Gulf carrier from the Open Skies war.

Emirates has released an official response to allegations it received billions of dollars in subsidies, claiming the accusations raised by U.S. legacy carriers are entirely false. In a press release, the airline outlined its argument against the 55-page whitepaper released by the legacy carriers at the beginning of the year.

The response is the latest return between the U.S. legacy carriers — American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines — and the Middle East Three — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — in the Open Skies debate.

Emirates claims its response disproves allegations of receiving $6 billion in illegal subsidies.

“The methods employed by the U.S. legacy carriers to discredit Emirates have been surprising and frankly, repugnant,” said Tim Clark, president of Emirates. “Unlike the Big 3’s whitepaper, which is riddled with inaccuracies, conjecture and legal misinterpretations, Emirates’ response is comprehensive and based on hard facts. We clearly show why the Big 3 have no grounds to ask the U.S. government to unilaterally freeze Emirates’ operations to the USA or pursue other action under the Open Skies agreement.”

According to the Gulf carrier, the definition of “subsidy” used by the legacy carriers does not cover services. Instead, the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services governs the services utilized by the airline, which has no rules on illegal subsidies.

In addition, Emirates’ claim a freeze on new air routes from the Middle East Three to the U.S. are not within the Open Skies agreements currently in effect. In its argument, the carrier claims its flights contribute to the spirit of Open Skies, which increases competition and promotes travel and tourism.

Emirates’ rebuttal can be read in full here.

In response, the Partnership for Fair and Open Skies claims Emirates has not proven they have not accepted illegal subsidies. “Our investigation shows that these massive subsidies have allowed Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines to expand far beyond what market forces could ever support, distorting international competition and tilting the playing field to its advantage,” said Jill Zuckman, spokeswoman for the Partnership.

[Photo: Emirates]

 

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. corbetti

    July 1, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    United and Delta are just upset because, having turned domestic air travel into essentially crappy bus service in the air, they find that customers prefer other carriers whenever possible for international travel.

    I remember when flying with those two wasn’t a dreadful experience. Not anymore.

    (I leave out American because, domestically, they have remained a level above the other two… but still pale compare to the international carriers.)

  2. seoane

    July 1, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I fully agree with corbetti. As a 2MM with United and Platinum with Emirates, I choose Emirates a thousand times over. They know what customer service is. United has push many of us to look for better fares and service, and we have found it in Emirates. Instead of complaining, why don’t they learn from Emirates?

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