New York Times: “Expansion by Mideast Airlines Sets Off a Skirmish in the U.S.”

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When I was reading the International New York Times inside the club lounge of the Waldorf-Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah earlier this week, I came across this interesting article about the spat between the US airlines, airports and hotels when it comes to the expansion of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways in the United States.

NY Times Expansion by Mideast Airlines Sets Off a Skirmish in the U.S.

The US airlines of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines started a campaign trying to limit the expansion of these three Middle Eastern rivals in the United States stating that they basically receive never ending handouts from their local governments.

You can access the New York Times piece here of which below is an excerpt:

Like many airports around the country, Orlando International in Florida has made efforts to attract foreign carriers in recent years. They have paid off; Orlando now gets more than 40 foreign flights a day from places like Germany, Brazil and Colombia.

The next goal is to lure Emirates of Dubai or another of the Middle East carriers that have transformed global travel. But Phillip N. Brown, the airport’s director, worries that such an opportunity might be threatened by a push from three major American carriers to freeze new flights by the Persian Gulf airlines, saying they receive unfair government subsidies.

It is the latest skirmish in the long-running battle that airlines around the world have waged against the fast-growing airlines from the gulf region.

Now, that rift has extended to the domestic travel industry as well, pitting Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines against airports, travelers and hotels that benefit from open skies agreements.

Conclusion

The heads of Emirates and Etihad were both in Washington this week trying to present their rebuttal for the 55 page white paper that the American, Delta and United released two weeks ago blaming the Middle Eastern airlines having received significant subsidies from their governments.

Even if the Middle Eastern airlines are subsidized by their governments that could distort competition, there is no doubt that they have benefited travelers in the forms of lower air fares for both economy and premium cabins, and providing service and connectivity that is far superior compared to most legacy airlines.

It is interesting to see how this is going to play out and the if the Middle Eastern governments stop funding their rulers pet projects at some point in time.

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