- This competes against United’s Newark – Athens flight, so they do not like this very much.
- Delta, United, and American argue that competition from Emirates (and Etihad, Qatar) is unfair and in the long run bad for their businesses.
- These legal 5th freedom routes don’t just carry customers into Pakistan and India, this new flight in addition to New York JFK – Milan competes directly with flights offered by US airlines (the horror).
Emirates Boeing 777
That Emirates is adding a new airport (Newark) without any other service in their network or economies of scale, and with a flight to Athens which is largely a leisure market (indeed yields so low Singapore Airlines has chosen to serve it with their low cost carrier Scoot) is a sign of the Gulf carriers’ weakness, not of their invincibility. There aren’t many routes left to send their widebodies.
United employees — and ironically politicians, whose favors the airline’s employees are supposed to be protesting — are coming out to make noise against the new flight.
United Airlines employees, labor leaders and elected officials will gather at Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal C this weekend to spotlight a real and growing threat to U.S. aviation jobs: Massive foreign subsidies enabling the rapid expansion of Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.
On Sunday, Emirates Airline will continue its subsidy fueled growth in the U.S. with a new flight from Athens, Greece to Newark. Rally participants will call on the Trump Administration to enforce aviation trade agreements to support U.S. jobs.
WHEN: Sunday, March 12, 10:30 a.m. EDT
Media should plan to arrive by 10 a.m. EDT
WHERE: Newark Liberty International Airport
United Airlines, Terminal C ticketing lobby
Level 3 / Door #3
As Matthew notes, Emirates simply responds that they’re offering a legal product to serve the needs of consumers. (And while Emirates’ profits are down they’ve been consistently profitable, even when the US airline industry was pursuing uneconomic strategies.)
When United’s PR reps tried to get me to cover this uncritically, I told them I might have sympathy if:
- United hadn’t offloaded pension obligations on the federal government in bankruptcy while retaining tax loss carryforwards, and
- United hadn’t gotten its Tokyo Narita beyond operation [inherited from Pan Am] as part of the spoils of World War II (the ultimate government subsidy) and if today there weren’t fuel tax subsidies and lobbying to limit competition for the Dulles hub.
- there was any credible economic theory supporting protectionism for mature profitable industries with the highest employment levels in history.
I simply have a hard time getting behind fewer flight options and higher prices for customers, and the elimination of tourism jobs (the Gulf carriers bring a lot of people here, and from markets not well-served by US airlines), airline jobs at Alaska and JetBlue (which partner with Emirates), and the likely retaliatory loss of Fedex’s Gulf hub.
United, American, and Delta failed to convince the Obama administration there was anything improper that required government intervention. Now they’re getting behind Donald Trump and hoping anti-Muslim sentiment will overturn the analysis done by the Departments of State, Transportation, and Commerce on this.