West must loosen airport access or we may cancel jet orders – Sheikh Ahmed

Emirates chairman says governments need to improve landing rights or Gulf carriers could consider backtracking on aircraft deals

Emirates Airline Group chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum has lashed out at countries that block international airlines' expansion by limiting landing rights at their airports.

Announcing a series of multi-billion dollar deals with US-based Boeing and European rival Airbus, the Dubai boss suggested Gulf carriers may consider cancelling aircraft orders if landing rights are not improved.

Taking advantage of the international attention on the first day of the Dubai Airshow, Sheikh Ahmed said some governments were hindering business and affecting customer convenience by refusing to allow airlines more landing slots, in some cases to protect national carriers.

"We see that many countries so far don't update their policies. They're a bit, you can say, scared," he said.

"I think we need to open up; airports need business. This is why we are in Dubai... building another international airport, to have as much capacity (as possible).

"It's people's choice at the end of the day, where they want to fly, to which airport, on which airline."

He suggested that airlines may even consider cancelling aircraft orders from companies based in countries that blocked airline growth.

"We are buying a product from their countries... Why would we buy something when they will not allow us (to increase landing capacity)? Then they can take the aircraft back," he said.

"But I don't think something like this will happen.

"I always look at the future as positive and I think we'll be able to fly to more and more airports."

Sheikh Ahmed said there had been some reversal in government policies restricting airline access, citing Emirates' weekly flights to Australia increasing from seven in 1996 to about 100.

However, the airline has been hampered in attempts to increase services to Canada and India, in particular.

Canada's limiting of UAE landing rights to three times a week caused a major political spat for more than two years, until in April Air Canada signed a code-sharing agreement with Abu Dhabi's Etihad.

However, Emirates has continued to be blocked from expanding in the North American country.

Etihad, the UAE national carrier, also has taken up the country's increased seat allocation to India. The Indian and UAE governments in September agreed to allow Etihad and Jet Airways to add 36,670 seats per week over three years to 2015, on top of the current entitlement of 13,600.

"We always hope that countries will allow airlines to operate more freely into airport destinations," Sheikh Ahmed said.

"We'll fight it."

Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline was not in negotiations for more landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport, which is very close to capacity.

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Posted by: AIO


''But the real story of last week?s Dubai Airshow came in the form of the sideline deals that will see some of the ?big three? money recycled back into the local economy.''


The article speaks for itself, or are you going to say ''do yourself a favor and brush up on your business sense'' or ''You still fail to see things from a business perspective.''

And last but not least.

That is called a business transaction.

Posted by: Billy

Guys all this chat is a waste of time and giving credibility to a whole lot of cage rattling and hot air from Emirates. The Emirates guys are very bright people and they have not committed to such large orders on the "maybe" of getting more slots in Europe. They need these planes anyway to fuel the growth they are seeing where they are already established. They are using these orders as blackmail but like all blackmailers they loose their power if you call their bluff. So, the European airports simply need to say no and then we will see what happens. Will Emirates curtail their own growth by having fewer planes than they need. Not a chance. The Europeans must not change their decision criteria to give in to a school yard bully....there are greater things at stake for them than upsetting Emirates.

Posted by: WHJ

@Telco. Please keep typing slowly. May be then you will understand what you're writing and realise that you jump from one subject to another without making any sense along the way. Oh and keep sighing while you're at it.

Posted by: nimby

they are "not in negotiation" in LHR as it is very close to capacity.

There is no point in negotiating for one extra flight every other day!

Posted by: WHJ

@Telcoguy. Hahaha... No one is asking for extra capacity in LHR, JFK or Tokyo!! The landing rights are needed in countries like Canada, Germany and India. Man! Read the article!
"Tim Clark said the airline was NOT in negotiations for more landing slots at London's Heathrow Airport, which is very close to capacity".

Posted by: Lee

We live in Europe Billy and our economies need that work more than they need these airport slots not to mention the jobs they will create. Even the US does. Emirates has a point. But my point is didn't we preach the free market, democracy and all of that? how can we say no now?

Posted by: Rob

Just cancel the orders.
Getting a little boring now,,, yawn

Posted by: william randolph

I dont understand this obsession that emirates and etihad have with Canada and securing more landing rights.
It is a huge but insignificant country , with a population of 30 million people. It exports practically nothing except oil and American cars to the USA.
They should instead focus on securing more flights to India and US , because thats where the future lies.
Let the Canadians have Air Canada and the rotten service and clunky old planes.

Posted by: Canuck

Good comment - Canada doesn't want any more problems from the ME coming here.

The new C-series by Bombardier, passenger jets, that saves 20% fuel and 23-25% noise reduction these planes will top all the others in due time. They also can do trans Atlantic flights.
Gone into production and Asians countries have already put in their orders.

Posted by: WHJ

When JAL announced a month ago that they would buy USD 9.5 billion worth of Airbus planes EADS stock price went up by 2.2% the next day and Boeing suffered a big blow and its share price dropped. Just imagine how big the opportunity loss would be for the two companies if EK and EY cancel their USD 150 billion order. So for those claiming that the cancellation will have no effect, do yourself a favor and brush up on your business sense, and while you're at it, on your common sense as well. When you can afford USD 150 billion you can afford to call the shots. That's how it is, the sooner you accept it the better it is for your economies.

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