Emirates airline could use European hubs to expand in Americas

Airline president Tim Clark hints at move that could anger US carriers which accuse it of competing unfairly through state subsidies

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates. (Getty Images)

Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates. (Getty Images)

Dubai's Emirates airline could expand its route network by using European hubs to fly into North and South American cities, its president said, a move that could anger US carriers which accuse it of competing unfairly through state subsidies.

Emirates is considering plans to open new routes to US cities from Dubai, as well as flying new routes from European airports under "fifth freedom" rights linked to Open Skies agreements with US authorities, Tim Clark told The National newspaper.

Fifth freedom rights allow an airline to fly between foreign countries as a part of services to and from its home country. Emirates already does this with a Milan-to-New York flight that it launched in October 2013.

"Expand further from European hubs into the US? Yes we might do that," Clark said. "The kind of abuse we've been getting might cause us to do it."

"And after Milan, we can see how profitable it is. If the Danes or the Swedes were to come to us and say 'we haven't got enough flights into the US, would you consider it?,' yes we might do that."

An Emirates spokeswoman confirmed that Clark was quoted correctly by The National, an English-language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates.

Clark also said "an awful lot" of people in Europe wanted to fly to the other hemisphere, not just to the United States but also to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

"We might say to (Delta Air Lines chief executive) Richard Anderson that we're just going to do what the US government wanted back in 1999, to go trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific with fifth freedom open skies," said Clark.

Delta and other US airlines have charged three fast-growing Gulf carriers - Emirates, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways - of receiving more than $40 billion in unfair subsidies, and the US airlines' unions have urged their government to halt the Open Skies agreement. The Gulf carriers have dismissed the charges as false.

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Posted by: Brian Murray

This sounds like an excellent idea.
How about Emirates using this method to fly more frequently to Canada.
I live in Toronto and fly at least once a month either direct to Dubai, or sometimes if I have business meetings in UK travel on KLM via Amsterdam, then London finishing my jorney to Dubai by Emirates from either London or Amstedam.
I then use Emirates to fly on to other Middle East and Africa Destinations on business.
In any case the heavily utilised thrice weekly schedule Toronto/Dubai is not nearly enough.
If the EK flights were scheduled to link up and continue from Toronto to London or Amsterdam I would be able to do all my business trips on Emirates.
Please Emirates - give this some consideration.

Brian from Toronto

Posted by: Dave Jame

It's called Canadian protectionism and fully supported by one Stephen Harper.

Posted by: Jorge Salazar

As far as I know, Mexico City is a milky cow route for the european airlines that serve this place and is not strange that in winter or summer time Iberia, Air France and KLM has up to two flights every single day and usually they go and back completly full. In the past years Sabena and City Bird from Belgium also operated this lucrative route from Brussels and their flights were very popular among tourist mainly..
Aero Mexico also serves Paris, Madrid and London but the rest of Europe is ignored or is underserved and does not have enough conectivity.. What if Emirates could offer maybe any of these routes.. Dubai-Brussels-Mexico City, Dubai-Barcelona- Mexico City, Dubai-Z�rich- Mexico City, Dubai- Moscow- Mexico City, Dubai-Lisbon-Mexico City, Dubai- Milan-Mexico City, Dubai-�msterdam-Mexico City and vice versa? Probably any could work well and could give Emirates a good advantage over any other compatitor traying to link any other point in Europe with the Mexican capital city..

Posted by: Christopher Van Veen

The recent 'land-rush' by Emirates and Qatar at U.S. airports is missing an obvious point: These two airlines invested in new airframes (787s, A350s, A380s, 777-300ERs) that make these new routes viable for them. By comparison, the US3 were slow on the uptake of new-generation planes, and now have been caught flat-footed because they are saddled with old and inefficient 777s, 767s, and woeful 757s. Our carriers refused to shop, and they're now whining that other airlines are enjoying the banquet.

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