World Economy

Delta Dismisses Emirates Charge

Delta Dismisses Emirates ChargeDelta Dismisses Emirates Charge

Delta Airlines said it has lost money on the Atlanta to Dubai route for two years, hitting out at claims by Emirates airline the route was profitable and it was “a political move” to cancel the service.

The US carrier announced last week it would be cancelling the route from next February, claiming overcapacity on US routes to the Middle East operated by Persian Gulf Arab airlines has made it unsustainable, Arabian Business reported.

Having already reduced service between the world’s busiest airport and the Middle East’s largest hub last month, Delta said it would use the 777 aircraft on other Trans-Atlantic markets “where it can compete on a level playing field that’s not distorted by subsidized state-owned airlines”.

The decision was met with criticism from some rivals in the aviation sector, with some pointing out that Delta did not have any competition on the Atlanta-Dubai route from the Persian Gulf carriers.

Delta’s chief legal officer, Peter Carter, responded with a letter to Air Transport World, a monthly magazine that serves the global airline and commercial air transport manufacturing communities, outlining why Delta cut the route.

“Atlanta is Delta’s (and indeed the world’s) busiest hub, and is heavily reliant on connecting traffic to support its international service,” Carter said in the letter.

“Customers traveling from the US to Dubai today have a choice of 16 daily departures from 12 US cities–14 of which are operated by Emirates. That airline’s extensive interline and code sharing agreements with US carriers means most passengers travelling to Dubai can easily book one-stop service on Emirates through the gateway of their choice. Delta is competing with every one of those flights, all of which are heavily subsidized by the United Arab Emirates.”

It was also pointed out, following the decision last week, that Delta, or any of the US carriers, do not have a sub-Indian continent network, and so Dubai was a dead end for the airlines.

“In the past Delta had flown nonstop to Mumbai from both New York and Atlanta. Today the US airlines operate almost no service to India because they have been driven out of the market by the subsidized Persian Gulf airlines,” Carter said.

“The same phenomenon has occurred with European airlines, which have been driven out of the market by Persian Gulf Arab subsidies. It is shocking to realize that US airlines have just two flights to the second most populous country in the world,” he added.

Carter also responded to Emirates’ claim that the route was profitable and that it was “a political move” to cancel the route.