Emirates Hits Back at U.S. Carrier's Subsidy Claims

Describing the U.S. carrier’s subsidy claims “a mess of legal distortions and factual errors,” Emirates has hit back at the ongoing attacks by three U.S. carriers (United, American, Delta) that their Gulf rivals (Emirates, Etihad, Qatar) are subsidised and creating unfair competition.

Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark
Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark

In a 192-page report, which was presented at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said: "We will not be subjected to bullyboy tactics and browbeating.” “We have to stand our ground on this … There must be a line drawn in the sand … In the end, enough is enough.”
Clark said he had met with representatives of the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce and Transportation on Monday where he presented the Emirates rebuttal report.
A report by Air Transport World said that in the report Emirates categorically states that it is not subsidised and charges that the “Big Three” U.S. airlines “come to this debate with unclean hands.

U.S. airlines got over $100 billion, Clark 
They have received billions of dollars in government support, including U.S. government assumption of airline pension obligations, airline stabilization grants, loan guarantees, grandfathering of airport slots, bankruptcy relief from debt and other obligations, direct grants and tax exemptions to support airport development, grants of antitrust immunity to form market-dominant alliances, protection of the U.S. market from foreign competition, and the prohibition against majority foreign ownership.”
Clark said the three U.S. carriers “have received more than $100 billion in government support since 2002.”

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ATW said that in the report, Emirates charges that the U.S. airlines “are asking the United States to undertake a massive departure from Open Skies policy.”
Clark also asserted that “there is no facility within the (U.S.-United Arab Emirates Open Skies) document” to reopen the agreement over the subsidy dispute between the U.S. airlines and Emirates.
While Emirates is owned by the Dubai government, “Emirates has earned a profit for 27 straight years” and “is a financially transparent business with nothing to hide,” Clark said. He acknowledged the aviation policies of the Dubai government had benefitted Emirates and added that like in the U.S., the state provides aviation infrastructure.
ATW quoted the Emirates CEO as saying that such government backing is in no way a justification for disrupting Open Skies agreements. In addition, he noted that many airlines around the world are owned or partly owned by governments. He added that "there are many, many state carriers now flying to the U.S. … You start on this path of interdicting Open Skies, it will never end … Once it starts with us, what are you going to do with the Chinese carriers?”

Nol van Fenema

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