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Dubai Airports chief slams anti-Emirates remarks

France, Canada remarks inaccurate - CEO.

October 13, 2010 2:58 by

The chief of Dubai’s airport retaliated on Wednesday against accusations from France and Canada that Emirates airline enjoyed unfair competitive advantages, escalating a dispute over access to flight routes and unfair competition.

U.S. and European airlines say their Gulf rivals get subsidies and export credits that allow them to grow at a breakneck pace and take market share.

“The only thing Dubai is guilty of is providing an environment that actually supports aviation,” Dubai Airports Co. Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said in a statement.

“Most governments around the world treat aviation as a pariah, choking its growth with costly, misdirected regulation, instead of adopting policies that recognise its considerable socio-economic benefits and support its sustainable growth.”

The rapid expansion of Emirates — as well as Gulf majors Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways — has unnerved older airlines and fuelled mutual accusations of protectionism. Many carriers fear Gulf-based superjumbos will drain their own hubs.

Emirates President Tim Clark told Reuters on Tuesday it was natural for Emirates to take advantage of export credits if they were provided by the governments and said only 20 percent of its aircraft purchases were financed through export credit.

Also this week, Canada’s military lost access to a military camp, which it used to support troops in Afghanistan, after Ottawa refused to allow Emirates and Etihad to increase flights to Canada.

Responding to recent comments by Air France’s chief executive and the growing tensions between the United Arab Emirates and Canada, Griffiths said claims that Emirates received preferential treatment was inaccurate.

U.S. and European airlines last week launched a campaign to change rules that allow airlines such as Emirates, but not themselves, to get export aid for jets from Airbus and Boeing.

Emirates has repeatedly clashed with Western carriers over their claims that its fuel bills are subsidised. Emirates repeatedly denies such claims.

Bloomberg News quoted Air France-KLM Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon on Monday as saying European governments should curb the expansion of Gulf Arab carriers, including Emirates, to protect European airlines from what he described as an unfair competitive advantage.

All 130 airlines operating in Dubai are treated equally and offered the same rates and charges, Griffiths said.

Dubai has built itself into a global aviation hub, with one of the world’s busiest airports, and is pouring billions of dollars into growing the sector. Dubai Airports oversees the emirate’s airport projects.

(Reporting by Tamara Walid; Editing by Reed Stevenson)

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  1. Haitham on October 14, 2010 9:30 am

    why all the fuss on emirates and etihad from european airliners??!! where was their fair play before we had those 2 airliners??!! and why is boeing silent?!! arent they the ones who were late to deliver the planes to Emirates; and emirates never sued them?! point is: emirates and etihad supported the aviation industry in the past and i’m sure they will keep doing this…but now competitors are unhappy because E&E are growing fast and they are a real threat to other airlines??!!

  2. Mr. Sal on October 14, 2010 11:17 am

    “U.S. and European airlines say their Gulf rivals get subsidies and export credits that allow them to grow at a breakneck pace and take market share.”

    *Gulf is the central of the world (east) = (Gulf) = (west).

    i think their is a monopoly played by the french speaking Canadians and air France.

  3. Dr. Chanti on October 18, 2010 1:42 pm

    Bravo Emirate, ,, I flew with all, but You are the Best, keep it up that way…
    Thank you Dubai, for all the comfort you having at the Dubai airport. Thank you for the Emirates Airline
    God Bless Dubai $ ALL

  4. Andrew on October 18, 2010 2:08 pm

    Haitham, what’s your point? If the UAE didn’t have carriers previously – what exactly would the dispute be?

    – “We want to give you money, okay?”
    – “Umm, no we have enough – thanks”

    If a particular nation wants to protect the economic interests of its own industry, it’s entitled to do it. The UAE is a perfect example of an anti-competitive country, with many public companies operating in monopoly, duopoly or oligopoly situations.

    So the fact that Emirates, which is owned by The Emirates Group, a company is wholly-owned by the Government of Dubai directly under the Investment Corporation of Dubai … doesn’t receive ANY benefits whatsoever?

  5. Miss Anne Thropic on October 18, 2010 6:39 pm

    A simple case of the UAE not liking it when the shoe is on the other foot. Six flights to Canada is plenty for the 27,000 Canadians who live here. And given Air Canada is not propped up by the government the same way that Emirates is, given that Canada has laws about minimum wages and discrimination unlike the UAE, they are doing what they can to protect their own. Just as the UAE does all the time.

  6. Ali on October 19, 2010 7:32 am

    Will the UAE allow Canadian telecom companies to offer any services in the UAE?
    At least Emirates is getting a chance to fly to Canada….

  7. Miss Anne Thropic on October 25, 2010 11:42 am

    Ali, Research In Motion is a Canadian company and they’ve had all kinds of fun with the UAE over the Blackberry debate. As for Canadian telecom companies offering other services to the UAE, what on earth are you on about? Why would the UAE government let in a competitor to government-owned Du and Etisalat?


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