Emirates' Dubai-Athens-Newark flight reignites subsidy row with US

Published January 24th, 2017 - 01:00 GMT
The lobbyists have accused Emirates of "flagrantly violating" the air services agreement that allows it to fly to the United States. (Wikipedia)
The lobbyists have accused Emirates of "flagrantly violating" the air services agreement that allows it to fly to the United States. (Wikipedia)

Lobbyists representing US airlines have reacted strongly against Emirates' announcement of its newest route from Dubai to New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport via Athens, set to commence on March 12.  

According to Reuters, the lobbyists have accused Emirates of "flagrantly violating" the air services agreement that allows it to fly to the United States, said the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, which represents Delta Air Lines and other U.S. airlines. Delta Airlines and other US carriers have repeatedly accused Gulf airlines of unfair competition through the receipt of hefty state subsidies - a charge that Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have denied.

The daily Dubai-Athens-Newark route complements Emirates’ existing four daily flights between Dubai and New York’s JFK airport, according to a company statement. The route would be Emirates' second so-called 'fifth freedom' flight to the United States, Reuters reports. 'Fifth freedom' rights allow an airline to fly between foreign countries as a part of services to and from its home country.

Informal consultations began under the Obama administration but failed to reach any agreement. According to Will Horton, senior analyst at CAPA – Centre for Aviation, the group is likely to turn up the pressure on Emirates with hopes to block the route prior to launch, and has said that it would raise the issue with the new administration of President Donald Trump to "protect American jobs." 

"We look forward to briefing President-elect Donald Trump and his new administration on the massive, unfair subsidies that the UAE and Qatar give to their state-owned Gulf carriers," said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, on Nov. 9.


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