Emirates has joined Etihad Airways in refuting claims that Gulf carriers are providing unfair competition to US airlines.
The Dubai-based airline released a point-by-point response to allegations of subsidy and unfair competition leveled by the “big three” US legacy carriers – Delta, United and American Airlines.
The document was released following meetings on Monday where an Emirates delegation briefed officials from the US departments of state, transportation and commerce on the airline’s response.
Emirates president, Sir Tim Clark, said: “The methods employed by the US legacy carriers to discredit Emirates have been surprising and frankly, repugnant.
“We do not underestimate their lobbying prowess, but facts are facts.”
He went on to describe a 55-page white paper produced by the US carriers alleging “evidence” of Emirates receiving subsidy and competing unfairly as being “riddled with inaccuracies, conjecture, and legal misinterpretations”.
Sir Tim added: “Emirates’ response is comprehensive and based on hard facts. We clearly show why the Big 3 have no grounds to ask the US government to unilaterally freeze Emirates’ operations to the USA or pursue other action under the open skies agreement.
“It is because we are absolutely not subsidised, and our operations do not harm these legacy carriers, but instead benefit consumers, communities and America’s national economy.”
Emirates said its response “systematically disproves” each of the US carrier allegations that it has received over $6 billion in subsidies.
Sir Tim said: “The subsidy allegations put forward by the Big 3 are patently false. We have been profitable for 27 years straight, and unlike our accusers, we have never depended on government bail-outs or protection from competition.
“In fact, we were told right from the start by the government of Dubai that Emirates has to deliver profits and stand on its own feet.
“We had to then, and we still have to now. Dubai has no oil reserves to speak of, and therefore it embarked on a well-documented strategy to diversify its economy with air transport as a key enabler.
“That directive is what led us to pioneer a successful business model as an efficient long-haul connector that offers customers a best-in-class experience.
“Our global expansion is funded from our own cash flow, and debt raised in the open market through banks and financial institutions. Our success is due to superior commercial performance.
“To date we have paid our shareholder, the Dubai government, more than $3 billion in dividends.”
Sir Tim added: “By asking the US government to take unilateral action, the Big 3 are asking the US to breach its own negotiated international obligations.
“This would put in jeopardy America’s open skies relationships with 113 other countries, and all the significant public and competition benefits that the open skies programme has generated.”
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