Published On: Thu, Jun 11th, 2015

Emirates Chief Says US Row Won’t ‘End in Tears’

The chief executive of Emirates airline said he does not believe an escalating dispute between US and Middle Eastern carriers over government subsidies will “end in tears”.

Emirates chief

Sir Tim Clark told the Dailyreleased he thinks the US government will step in and “inject a degree of sanity” in the row.

US airlines have asked the government to investigate what they claim are unfair subsidies given to Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad.

The airlines have denied receiving aid.

Mr Clark said that his airline is being unfairly accused, because competitors can’t believe it is doing so well without “cheating”.

“People simply can’t believe that we have an airline of this size in 30 years, buying huge numbers of aircraft, brand new, successfully deploying them on markets all over the world and making quite a lot of money,” he said.

“That’s kind of not how the airline industry has performed over the last 50 years, I’m sorry to say.”

In 2013, Emirates became the first Middle Eastern carrier to fly passengers from Milan to New York.

Last month, the airline reported a 40% jump in annual net profit in the financial year to March, on savings from lower oil prices.

‘Too important’ for US

US carriers American Airlines, United and Delta Air Lines have accused the three Gulf carriers of having receiving up to $40bn (£25bn) in subsidies from their government over the past 10 years, which they claim breaches the “Open Skies” agreement between the US and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

But Mr Clark said any move by the US government to curb his airlines business in the country could have an impact on its economy.

“It is far too important for the US economy for multiple reasons for the activities of the Gulf carriers to be cut back, because once you do that and you start closing the Open Skies that you have today, there’s enormous ramifications,” he said.

“The US economy would be severely affected by a closure, shutting down of the Open Skies arrangement which has manifested, produced huge amounts of wealth for aerospace, Boeing, General Electric… as well as everything else,” he added.

The head of Emirates’ comments come just a day after the boss of Qatar Airways threatened to leave the Oneworld Alliance, accusing American Airlines of blocking the carrier’s business.

Emirates had also said on Wednesday, that it would pay $700m in dividends to its Dubai government owners and $300m in bonuses to employees,