Years of lobbying by US airlines have failed to sway American travellers’ perception of Dubai’s Emirates airline, according to a new report from YouGov.
Three US airlines – Delta Air, American Airlines and United Airlines – engaged in a three-year campaign, under the lobbying group Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, spending a reported $50 million to try and curb the expansion of Gulf carriers into the US, and possible change people's perception of Emirates.
That campaign drew to a close earlier this year with an agreement to increase financial transparency, and a pledge that UAE carriers have no plans to add fifth freedom routes. UAE's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah, said it was "business as usual" for the country's airlines following a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Despite a campaign that went all the way to the White House, US travellers remain stronger supporters of Emirates, according to the YouGov survey, which found that Emirates was found to be the “best quality” airline for business travellers, ahead of British Airways, Delta, American Airlines and Lufthansa.
Additionally, Emirates was found to be the airline most likely to be recommended to friends, family and colleague by American travellers, followed closely by Singapore Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America.
The report also said the Emirates brand health continues to improve each year, with its YouGov Index score increasing by 7 points over the last three years, the only airline among its competitors to show that rate of growth.
“What’s notable is the diminishing gap between Emirates’ Index score and that of British Airways and Lufthansa, who were ahead by at least 10 points in 2014,” the report said. “That gap is now reduced to just 3 points, a testament to the airline’s commitment to improvement, while its competitors remain relatively stable.”
In 2014, Emirates strongest areas were ‘reputation’ and ‘quality’, with considerable room for improvement in its ‘satisfaction’, ‘recommend’, ‘value’ and ‘impression’ scores’ according to YouGov.
“Three years later, Emirates has managed to surpass its competitor average in three of those four areas, marking its transformation into a true industry leader,” the report noted. “The airline’s success seems to come down to building upon its already strong quality and reputation perception while placing an emphasis on other metrics like ‘value’ and ‘recommend’.”
The report added that “those improvements are echoed by the numerous awards it won last year in those same areas.”
According to the survey, 48 percent of Americans say they will book a flight within the next year, while 27 percent reported flying for leisure within the last year, compared to 11 percent who flew for business.
Of the travellers who flew for business, 49 percent said they book luxury accommodations whenever possible, and 80 percent said they tend to choose premium products and services.For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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