Emirates Airlines’ decision to launch new flights to the United States with a stopover in Greece has made U.S. airlines quite angry. The strong reaction has particularly come from a lobby group which represents rival U.S. carriers. Emirates Airlines has been accused of using state subsidies unfairly to compete with U.S. airlines. Emirates Airlines, which is currently world’s largest long-haul carrier, has announced it would be launching flights to Dubai from Newark Liberty via Athens. The daily flights would be operational from March 12, 2017.
The lobby group Partnership for Open & Fair Skies representing Delta Air Lines and other U.S. carriers has alleged that the air services agreement allowing Emirates Airlines to conduct flight services to the United States was being “flagrantly violated”. The lobby group while accusing Emirates Airlines of “throwing down the gauntlet” has vowed that it would do everything possible and within its means to “protect American jobs”.
Media reports said that the new Dubai-Athens-Newark Liberty route being launched by Emirates Airlines would be its second so-called ‘fifth freedom’ flight to the U.S. The new route will be in addition to the existing Dubai-Milan-New York service being operated daily by the airline. Apart from this, Emirates Airlines is also presently operating thrice daily direct flights between Dubai and New York.
According to the reports, under the Fifth Freedom Rights an airline is allowed to conduct operations between foreign countries as a part of services to and from its home country. Leading Middle East carriers such as Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have been accused by Delta Air Lines and other major U.S. carriers that they have received over $500 billion in unfair subsidies. The Middle East carriers have however denied the allegations. The U.S. carriers’ group which comprises of Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines has said that they would continue to make efforts for blocking the new service before it finally becomes operational.