By Andy Sambidge
Dubai airline agrees to demand from German gov't 'under protest' amid threat of fines.
Emirates Airline has agreed "under protest" to a German government demand that it must raise fares on some routes, it was reported on Thursday.
Germany's transport ministry said the move reflected a little-known European Commission regulation banning airlines from outside the European Union from undercutting EU carriers on some routes.
Dubai-based Emirates said it had never received a similar request from an EU state and claimed that some rivals' fares were already lower than its own before the German government issued its demand, Wall Street Journal reported.
The airline said the German authorities told it last week to raise business-class fares on three routes operated via its Dubai base.
"Given the scale of fines being threatened, Emirates had no choice but to adjust the tariffs in question," the airline said in its in-house magazine. "We did so under protest."
One Emirates' executive described the move as "a blunt instrument used to protect some and punish others", the paper reported.
Germany told the airline to raise business-class fares on services from Frankfurt to Johannesburg, Hamburg to Singapore and Berlin to Singapore.
A spokesman for Germany's federal transportation ministry confirmed that Emirates was told to raise prices on the routes to match those of EU airlines, in line with the regulations that European carriers set prices on routes beyond the 27-nation bloc.
Emirates claimed that "as a consequence of some current German policies, Lufthansa's own fares ex-Frankfurt are being maintained at artificially high levels".
Poor old Emirates, being forced by those nasty Germans to raise fares. Emirates could appeal to the EU Competition committee if they felt so strongly about it. Better to just take that extra money and save for a rainy day.