Dubai Airports chief slams anti-Emirates remarks
France, Canada remarks inaccurate - CEO.
October 13, 2010 2:58 by Reuters
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)