Emirates boss Sir Tim Clark dismissed US airlines’ claims of government subsidies to the Gulf carrier as “flimflam” yesterday and said Emirates would take “a sledgehammer” to the allegations.
The Emirates president challenged the heads of the US carriers, saying: “If we show these are falsehoods, will they resign?”
American Airlines, United and Delta Air Lines published a report in March alleging the Gulf carriers received more than $40 billion in market-distorting hand-outs. The US government began an investigation in April.
Speaking at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Clark did not rule out legal action.
He said: “Our focus is on responding to the allegations.” But he added: “We are aware there may be issues that could be damaging to us, damaging to our revenue or to our brand, and we are looking at those.”
Referring to the 55-page dossier submitted to Washington by the US carriers, the president of Dubai-based Emirates said: “You could drive a bulldozer through just about everything.”
Clark said Emirates would produce a detailed rebuttal “in our own time”. He said: “Our response is in compilation at the moment.
“The US must give us the right to respond and we require time to do it. But we will deal a sledgehammer to that report.
“We will present it when we’re ready. I hope the US government will wait until we are ready.”
Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways will make their own submissions, he added: “But I expect there will be a lot of similarities.”
He insisted: “The question of subsidies is a non-starter. We have never been subsidised. We never received from the government of Dubai any special treatment.
“We have grown from nothing to 240 aircraft and done it without state intervention and without state funding.
“Our statements are audited by PwC. I would love to know where we received the money.”
Clark dismissed the claim that Emirates had taken market share from the US carriers, saying: “American Airlines does not service this region at all. Delta has one flight a day from Atlanta and United one flight a day from Washington DC. They are conspicuous by their absence.
“For them to say we are taking their market is absolute nonsense. We did not start flying to the US until 2004.”
He added: “They really should do more analysis. Too much of the report is innuendo.”
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