Emirates Airline boss says US rivals 'need to grow up' and end the nastiest feud in the airline industry

  • Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark said cooperation with American, Delta, and United Airlines could be very profitable for everyone involved.
  • The Emirates boss believes the US3 could benefit greatly from traffic brought into the US by his airline.
  • Clark also criticised the tactics employed by its rivals during the long-running dispute.

Emirates Airline president Sir Tim Clark believes a truce in his company’s feud with the US trio of American, Delta, and United Airlines could be very beneficial for everyone involved. At the same time, the long-time airline boss decried the tactics employed by his rivals.

“They need to grow up and we need to have a mature way of going about our business,” Clark told Business Insider in a recent interview.

According to Clark, the US3 haven’t been able to show any direct harm done to them by the presence of Emirates and its fellow Middle Eastern carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways in the US market.

The US3 has accused the ME3 of receiving more than $US52 billion in state aid over the past decade, which they claim is in violation of the Open Skies agreement that governs air travel between the US and the ME3’s home nations. Thereby harming US airlines through unfair competition.

The ME3 has denied the allegations and instead focused on the business its presence has drummed up for the US economy.

“The beneficiaries of Open Skies driven by the likes of us has been the US economy and that’s kindly marginalized in the US3’s narrative,” Clark told us. “We asked them to show competitive harm, but they won’t because they can’t.”

“They haven’t got a leg to stand on so they go after this theatre, this noise,” he added. “They put big banners up at the Atlanta Airport.”

Clark went on to compare the tactics employed by his rivals to the antics of a “three-year-old at the playground.”

Emirates and US airlines working together is good for everyone

Ultimately, the Emirates president believes cooperation between the two warring factions could be mutually beneficial.

“It seems to be lost on them that this can work and make everybody happy,” he said. “For goodness sake, all of the business we bring across (the ocean). Don’t you think they’d want to go other places than Chicago?”

Clark believes connecting traffic from Emirates could help American’s bottom line in Dallas and Chicago or United’s in Houston.

He also points out the connecting business Emirates is already sending to JetBlue and Alaska Airlines.

“Think about the feed we do give to my friend Robin Hayes who runs JetBlue in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, and Boston,” Clark added. “And on the other side, I’ve got Brad Tilden with Alaska on Seattle and all the points down there.”

JetBlue Airbus A321JetBlueA JetBlue Airbus A321.

As result, by not working together, American, Delta, and United are effectively leaving free money on the table.

Clarks wishes the US3 could realise that “when one of those Airbus A380s lands in New York, the feed going out to multiple points in the US could be mine.”

“It’s just a matter of turning on the tap,” he added.

Unfortunately, the US carriers have decided to go in the opposite direction by refusing to allow Emirates passengers to connect onto their flights.

“What they have done is cut the interline deal,” Clark told us. “Emirates can’t sell tickets on any of them. I mean talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

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