Dr. John Frankie O’Connell of Cranfield University is not happy with the white paper issued by US airlines arguing that Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar receive huge subsidies.
The paper cites his work, such as “The rise of the Arabian Gulf carriers: an insight into the business model of Emirates Airline,” Journal of Air Transport Management, and fabricates quotes.
[T]he white paper report on page 30 quotes from my report..in support of the alleged subsidization of Emirates Airline and its related managerial practices that “this multifaceted management role…can press the airport to act in the best interests of the country’s flag carrier.”
My academic paper reads directly as follows: “This multifaceted management role allows for cost synergies and pressurizes airports to act in the interests of airlines.” The passage quoted in the academic paper does NOT state the words “can press the airport to act in the best interests of the country’s flag carrier”. The passage in question was referencing the fact that these lower landing charges are passed onto ALL airlines “to act in the interest of airlines”, (which was omitted) and how Emirates Airline and Dubai airport work together to induce synergies.
His research suggests that all airlines pay the same low landing fees in Dubai, with the airport deriving significant revenue from duty free sales — a common worldwide strategy but one that doesn’t reduce landing fees in countries where different entities control different revenue streams. The author of the paper cited by the US carriers finds this a legitimate strategy, and finds political processes in the US and UK lacking in comparison when it comes to airport expansion.
The white paper also addresses Emirates’ labor practices that he addresses in the work that the US airlines cite. He finds that when properly accounting for non-cash compensation paid to flight crew (e.g. housing, children’s education, healthcare) that Emirates’ labor costs are equivalent to those of Singapore Airlines.
Professor O’Connell concludes,
I believe that the US white paper report makes false claims on the arguments made by my paper. Lobbying in favor of a stakeholder is understandable in pluralistic modern societies. However, doing so by victimizing and blaming the success of others based on inaccurate statements is a practice of very limited added value to the society.
Take the claims in the US airlines’ self-interested report with skepticism.