This week, Emirates, an airline owned by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced that it was purchasing 20 more Airbus A380 super jumbo-jets, with the option of purchasing an additional 16. Emirates is already the largest operator of Airbus A380s in the world, by far, with more than 100 of these jets currently in operation. According to one article, “If Emirates signs off on the full deal it will have committed to a total of 178 A380s, or more than half of all orders for the plane worldwide.”
This aircraft order, and the continued expansion that will accompany these new aircraft, defies economics and is further evidence that Emirates is simply a subsidized tool of the UAE government, not a real airline operating with regard to commercial demand.
Recently, Delta CEO Ed Bastian stated about Emirates, “At some point, the economics just don’t make sense and they’ll need to evaluate for themselves how much growth they can add through Dubai to build the world’s super-connector airport.”
The most recent “Air Passenger Market Analysis” from the International Air Transportation Association confirmed the disturbing predatory behavior of the Middle Eastern airlines, particularly Emirates, who are continuing to add capacity (more planes and more seats into markets), while at the same time flying airplanes with more empty seats (30% unsold – which without subsidies is not possible) than anywhere else in the world. With no regard for actually earning a profit and continuing to expand without market demand, the Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates are engaged in unfair competition, distorting the marketplace, and depriving U.S. airlines and their employees of the right to fair competition set forth in the Open Skies agreements held with the UAE and Qatar.
We’ve spent a lot of time fact-checking and myth-busting opponents of Open Skies enforcement. This includes the organization known as US Travel Association, which does not actually represent any U.S. airlines. The ironically named US Travel is taking money from the United Arab Emirates – state-owned Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways are members of US Travel – to oppose Open Skies enforcement. That is a flagrant foul for an association that claims to represent the interests of the United States, and some have alleged that it may even be a violation of federal law.
Recently, others have been fact-checking US Travel too, as they continue their aggressive campaign against American workers. Read one example for yourself in the recent Breitbart story titled: “NeverTrumpers Pushing Trump Administration to Ignore ‘Open Skies’ Trade Violations by Foreign Nations.”
Delta CEO Ed Bastian recently stated, “We’ve had 300 members of Congress who have written in and asked for this matter to be formally investigated on a bipartisan basis. To get 300 members of Congress to agree to anything tells you the importance of this matter to our people.” Bastian added. “I think a resolution will come at some point.” Americans for Fair Skies agrees.
President Trump has made trade enforcement a priority, and his team is taking initial steps to address the market-distorting subsidies by the UAE and State of Qatar to their three airlines. We are confident that further progress on Open Skies enforcement will be made soon, which will help restore market balance, safeguard U.S. jobs, and protect the integrity of the 120+ Open Skies agreements with other nations that are not being violated.