Many European airlines that have voiced concern about the growth of travel giants such as Emirates fail to understand the jobs at risk at Airbus if these Middle Eastern carriers hit back by curtailing their orders for A380s and A350s, analysts and aviation officials said as their verbal spat takes a new twist.
“The mantra of securing specialist aerospace jobs ranks top of Europe’s priorities, and as we have seen with the recent spat between the UAE and Canada, Europe cannot afford to prevent GCC airline growth within Europe because the risk of Airbus losing big orders is very real,” Saj Ahmad, aerospace/airline analyst with UK-based FBE Aerospace, told Gulf News.
“Perhaps this has been a strategy all along by Gulf airlines to leverage their buying power as the price of entry and expansion in Europe, but Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and a host of other EU airlines are in contrast very badly managed, poorly run and cannot hang to the belief that Gulf state subsidies prop up rivals like Emirates.”
A number of European airlines are reported to have teamed up to push for European Union action to slow the growth of Emirates and other Gulf carriers in the region, saying it’s status as an air-travel hub is under threat.
“Europe is at the crossroads of international air travel, and this is a role we need to value and defend,” Air France Chief Executive Officer Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said this week.
“What we’re telling the authorities is that we need a strategy that gives us a chance to resist.”
An Emirates spokesperson told Gulf News: “This has been an ongoing debate. We are an audited company, we have nothing to hide. We do not receive subsidies from the government.”
More at gulfnews.com
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