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Lufthansa wants to deny Emirates slots in Berlin-paper

The spat between the two airlines is the latest bid by an international carrier to limit fast-growing Emirates' access to their home markets.

January 17, 2011 2:37 by

German airline Lufthansa wants Emirates airline  to be denied landing slots at Berlin’s new airport, saying the Dubai-based carrier had an unfair advantage, according to a UAE newspaper on Monday.

The spat between the two airlines is the latest bid by an international carrier to limit fast-growing Emirates’ access to their home markets.

The National newspaper quoted a Lufthansa spokesman as saying Emirates’ access to German airports had led to “unequal” air traffic between the two countries.

“We think there is a big imbalance in the allocation of slots,” Lufthansa spokesman Wolfgang Weber told the newspaper.

He said Emirates already flies to four airports in Germany while Lufthansa only flies to one destination in Dubai.

“They have between five and six times more business on that route as a result.”

“There is no bilateral air traffic relationship with any other country that is as unequal as between Germany and Dubai,” he was quoted as saying.

Emirates airline told Reuters on Monday that it would continue to seek access to Berlin and Stuttgart as additional points of call in Germany.

“Emirates’ services to Berlin and Stuttgart, both of which remain underserviced in terms of scheduled intercontinental routes, would benefit trade, investment, tourism and employment in the two cities, their surrounding regions and nationwide in Germany,” the airline said in a statement.

The incident follows tension between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Canada over landing rights for UAE airlines including Emirates and Etihad Airways.

Emirates, the Arab world’s largest carrier, has been lobbying the Canadian government to boost its thrice-weekly direct flights to Toronto and more Canadian destinations, with support from the UAE government, but failed to gain greater access.

That triggered a UAE government decision to end access to a military base used by the Canadian military to support troops in Afghanistan.

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Sharon Lindores)

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