The UAE ambassador to UK said “jealousy” was behind the dispute between US carriers and Gulf airlines over $42 billion in alleged government subsidies.
AA, Delta and United have called on the US government to renegotiate the US open skies agreement with the Gulf states to limit the access of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways to the US, claiming the carriers have benefited from state aid.
Abdulrahman Ghanem Almutaiwee told the Sunday Times: “This is a sort of jealousy more than economic issues, because they could not imagine such newly established airlines would take a lot of their market shares. Because of the deficiencies they have, they could not compete.”
Emirates announced a £6-billion-plus order for Rolls Royce engines for 50 A380 aircraft, rejecting a counter bid by US companies, but Almutaiwee said: “Thjs has nothing to do with warning the Americans.”
International Airlines Group quit the Association of European Airlines (AEA) last week over the row.
The British Airways and Iberia parent company said its airlines had pulled out because of a difference of opinion with other members of the Brussels-based trade body.
IAG, which is partly owned by Qatar Airways, told Reuters: “We believe global liberalisation of our industry is fundamental to our future growth and we are not willing to compromise on this fundamental matter.”
Etihad Airways president and chief executive James Hogan also highlighted growing resistance by “protectionist competitors” in Europe to European Commission transport commissioner Violeta Bulc last week.
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