Delta Airlines Forced Out Of Dubai Market, Blaming ME3 Carriers – Cancels Flights Effective Feb. 11, 2016


The ongoing feud between Delta Airlines and the Middle East carriers enters a new chapter with Delta discontinuing their Dubai flights effective Feb. 11, 2016.

Delta_A330 copyDelta is citing overcapacity by ‘subsidized airlines’ as the reason for their decision to cancel this route.

For a while already, Delta Airlines is the most vocal in terms of lambasting against the ME3 carriers and even it’s CEO Richard Anderson made headlines by blaming the Middle East countries for the 9/11 attacks and subsequent bankruptcies of U.S. carriers (see Loyalty Lobby article here).

Yesterday Delta published in their online newsroom a statement regarding their discontinuation of the Dubai Service (access here) essentially singing the same old tunes of unfair competition.

Delta will no longer fly between Atlanta and Dubai effective Feb. 11, 2016. The announcement comes amid overcapacity on U.S. routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and heavily subsidized airlines, and less than a month after Delta reduced service between the world’s busiest airport and the Middle East’s largest hub.

The 777 aircraft used to operate ATL-DXB will be redeployed to other Trans-Atlantic markets where it can compete on a level playing field that’s not distorted by subsidized state-owned airlines.

Between 2008 and 2014, about 11,000 daily seats were added between the U.S. and Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi – more than 95 percent of which are flown by Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar and Etihad airlines. Of the 14 daily flights between the U.S. and Dubai, only two are operated by U.S. carriers. Despite the increase in passengers traveling on these flights, the number whose journeys actually originate or end in the Gulf has essentially remained flat.

Delta Management appears to be under the influence of something to identify market forces as some evil conspiracy.
Their clear fixation on what they call government subsidies can only be seen as an attempt to drive attention away from the fact that Delta’s product, both on the ground and in the air simply can’t match that of the Middle East competition.


The decision to voluntarily withdraw from the Dubai route might be the first reasonable step undertaken by Delta management. If a company is that scared of competition it might be best to realize it at some point and either improve ones own product or withdraw from the market.

Citing overcapacity in combination with connecting traffic via the Gulf Hubs (Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Doha) is a completely baseless argument. In the end these carriers are able to fill their planes and make money even under consideration of total capacity. If Delta is unable to operate their route in a profitable manner then they only have themselves to blame.

If you enjoyed this article, get our blog updates for free!

Previous articleFabulous Fridays: Welcome Amenity?
Next articleChicago City Council Approves UBER & Competitors Pickups at O’Hare & Midway Airport