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Emirates’ Newest Newark Route Greeted by United Protests

Emirates celebrates the arrival of its inaugural flight from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) via Athens International Airport (ATH) on Sunday, March 12, 2017, marking the launch of its twelfth U.S. gateway, Newark, N.J. (Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Emirates)

Congressmen joined United Airlines staff to protest landing of Fifth Freedom route.

Emirates’ newest route was received with unusual fanfare as United Airlines’ employees rallied against the Middle East carrier’s arrival. Emirates Flight 209 arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) at around 10 p.m. Sunday night, but not before a delegation lead by United Airlines had their say about the route.

Nearly 12 hours before the Boeing 777-300ER arrived, several stakeholders gathered at Terminal C to call attention to their concerns with the carrier. The protest focused around allegations Emirates and their Middle Eastern counterparts – Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – funded expansions with the assistance of subsidies from their respective governments. As a result, the airline, union stakeholders and members of Congress say the growth violates the spirit of Open Skies agreements and undermines aviation jobs based in the United States.

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“Each time a U.S. carrier is forced to cut one of these long-haul international routes, American jobs are at risk,” Rick Hoefling, vice president of the United EWR hub, said in a press release after the event. “That translates into fewer jobs for pilots, ground crew, flight attendants and all of those who make our domestic aviation sector one of the best around the world. We look to the new administration to enforce our international aviation agreements and stand up for all U.S. aviation workers.”

Prior to the route being instituted, a Congressional delegation of representatives from New York and New Jersey requested the White House stop the flight until further analysis could be completed. Two signatories of the letter, Rep. Donald Payne Jr and Rep. Josh Gottheimer, both of New Jersey, were present for the protests. Members from both of United’s major unions, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Air Lines Pilots Association (ALPA), also joined the demonstration.

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Despite the protest, EK209 arrived with praise from several international partners, including spokespersons from Athens International Airport, EWR, and the Consulate General of Greece. The daily service departs from Dubai for Athens, before continuing to EWR and returning by the reverse route.

“It is always a great pleasure to announce new air services, route expansions and partnerships at our airport,” Diane Papaianni, general manager of EWR, said in an Emirates press release. “Our airport has a vast network of destinations, and we are delighted to have Emirates join our airline family and offer more travel options to our customers.”

[Photo: Emirates; United Airlines]

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8 Comments
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chinatraderjmr March 19, 2017

Perhaps UA should start a YEAR ROUND non stop to Athens BEFORE they complain about unfair competition. For that matter, perhaps UA should offer a product as good as Emirates. Once UA does these 2 things maybe more people will choose them & they will have less to complain about. The Governments of the UAE & Qatar DO NOT subsidize EK or QR (I don't know enough about Etihad). What the governments DO is provide excellent infrastructure, making their airlines ground service more enjoyable. The US stands in the way of US airlines by taxing them more then any other industry, not upgrading crumbling airports,

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seoane March 17, 2017

I'm a 2 MM with United and love EK with my eyes closed. UA stop complaining and give us good service!

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Sabai March 16, 2017

Who in their right mind would choose UA ("some of our flight are punctual") over EK?

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texmanufan March 15, 2017

Or, if the complaining leaders and these protestors of the US3 spent as much time and effort doing their jobs they may be able to compete with the ME3. The real danger is that more flights mean that more and more Americans will experience real customer service. If any other American industry treated their customers the way the US3 has they would have been out of business long ago. Subsidation is the only reason these incompetents are around to whine instead of addressing the real problems.

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corbetti March 15, 2017

I've flown international on US and foreign carriers (lots, not just Gulf). Across the board, US carriers SUCK. They should look in the mirror rather than whine. Last i checked, the government has bailed them out many times.