The boss of Emirates believes a row between US and Middle East carriers over government subsidies will not “end in tears”.
The Dubai-based carrier’s president, Tim Clark (pictured), told the BBC he thinks the US government will step in and “inject a degree of sanity” in the dispute.
US airlines have asked Washington to investigate what they claim are unfair subsidies given to Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad. The Gulf carriers have denied receiving aid.
Clark said Emirates was being unfairly accused, because competitors can’t believe it is doing so well without “cheating”.
“People simply can’t believe that we have an airline of this size in 30 years, buying huge numbers of aircraft, brand new, successfully deploying them on markets all over the world and making quite a lot of money,” he said.
“That’s kind of not how the airline industry has performed over the last 50 years, I’m sorry to say.”
American Airlines, United and Delta Air Lines have accused the three Gulf carriers of having receiving up to $40 billion in subsidies from their government over the past 10 years, which they claim breaches the open skies agreement between the US and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
But Clark said any move by the US government to curb his airline’s business in the country could have an impact on its economy.
“It is far too important for the US economy for multiple reasons for the activities of the Gulf carriers to be cut back, because once you do that and you start closing the open skies that you have today, there’s enormous ramifications,” he said.
“The US economy would be severely affected by a closure, shutting down of the open skies arrangement which has manifested, produced huge amounts of wealth for aerospace, Boeing, General Electric… as well as everything else.”
His comments came a day after Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker threatened to quit the Oneworld Alliance, accusing American Airlines of blocking his carrier’s business.
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