By Courtney Trenwith
Emirates Airline boss Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum says the carrier will prove the subsidy allegations are false
The UAE's most senior aviation executive has said he will read a report allegedly containing details of how the country's airlines have breached open skies agreements and then travel to the US to prove the claims are false.
"We have to read it, then we'll come," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman of Emirates Airline said on the side of an aviation conference in Dubai on Wednesday.
The report, compiled by US airline giants Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airways, was released to selected American journalists last Thursday, a month after the trio publicly claimed they had evidence Gulf carriers were operating unfairly.
They claim UAE carriers Emirates and Etihad and Qatar Airways have received $40 billion in subsidies.
According to US media organisations, the report says the Gulf trio are "aiming to dominate global aviation by exploiting open skies policy" and are "fuelled by massive government subsidies".
“These three airlines, wholly owned by their governments, are using unprecedented subsidies to exploit their open and unfettered access to the US market. This threatens our US airline industry, airline jobs and the US economy,” the report says.
“Over the last decade alone, Qatar, Etihad, and Emirates collectively have received more than $42 billion in subsidies and other unfair benefits from the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to a recent investigation. Those subsidies are in violation of open skies policy and put thousands of US airline jobs at risk.”
An analysis of the subsidies shows the biggest alleged payment is $12.4 billion in “interest-free loans and shareholder advances”.
It also claims the three airlines received $11.2 billion with of “equity infusions, grants and future committed subsidies” and $8.8 billion in interest savings from government loan guarantees and interest-free loans.
Emirates president Tim Clark last week said he would review the report before commenting on its contents but he was confident that any allegation was "without grounds".
He is expected to be among the Emirates team to travel to the US.
Sheikh Ahmed said Clark was still in Dubai on Wednesday.