Gulf airlines were not to blame for overcapacity on services between the US and Dubai, asserted Emirates Airline, rejecting US-based Delta Air Lines’ criticism earlier this week.
Delta said on Sunday that it was reducing flights between Atlanta and Dubai this winter, blaming overcapacity on US routes to the Middle East by subsidised and state-owned airlines, underscoring a trade row, a Reuters report said.
The claims by Delta came after a coalition group of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, alleged that Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were receiving $42 billion in subsidies from the UAE and Qatar governments over the past decade.
The coalition – dubbed The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies – also ran a petition campaign on its website against the alleged subsidies, seeking signatures from people. It said the Gulf airlines were aiming to dominate global aviation and were driving down prices and pushing out competitors in the US.
The Gulf carriers deny the subsidy claims and say that the US airlines are losing their market share because of poor customer service. Moreover, in a statement to media, a spokesperson for the Dubai-based Emirates airline played down the allegations describing them as “a plainly political play, or a thin excuse to prop up fares at a higher level by limiting capacity”.
Delta has decided to reduce the frequency of its flights between Atlanta and Dubai from October 1. It was the only airliner offering daily direct service between the two major cities but will now fly four or five times a week.
On the other hand, Emirates flies 84 flights each week from nine US airports with an estimated $2.9bn annual economic value of services to these airports and their surrounding regions. The airline has been expanding its service to new routes and adding seats and super-jumbo aircraft to popular destinations.
The company announced on August 12 that it was adding more of its flagship Airbus A380 service to Australia and Singapore. The new additions will provide more customer options as well as additional seat capacity on the route. The airliner has also decided to use the A380 on all of its eight daily London flights from January 1, 2016.
On July 22, Emirates announced that it would start flying to Bamako, the capital of Mali – its 25th destination in Africa – from October 25.
Media reports last week said the airliner has signed a deal with American actress Jennifer Aniston to promote Emirates Airline in a worldwide ad campaign.