November 7, 2014

As the three-pronged attack on the US market from Gulf-based airlines continues, by March 2015 Emirates will be operating four daily flights from Dubai to JFK Airport, New York

The US knows it is under threat from airlines in the Gulf, so it comes as no more than another shot across the bows to learn that Emirates will have a fourth daily 14 hour flight from Dubai International Airport, to JFK in New York. Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airlines are all targeting the US market and the best defense that is being put up is that according to US airlines, they all operate unfair practises. Of course labor in the Gulf area is cheaper and like so many of the Emirates, no tax is payable on revenue or profit, so it is difficult to know what else the US airlines can do. Jeff Smisek , the Chief Executive of United Airlines, requested U.S. government puts limits on Gulf airlines (however the Obama administration shows no hints toward a policy change.) Smisek’s counterpart at American, Doug Parker , revealed at an airline conference this fall that the Gulf carriers were his foremost business concern. The simple truth is, these three Gulf airlines seem to be able to offer better value for money and as one recent passenger, Pastor Dan Dodge from El Paso, Texas put it: “The good thing about the Gulf airlines is they put service back in that America’s airlines have forgotten.” They are attracting travelers with service reminiscent of the early days of flying. That includes hot towels in economy, and amenities like onboard showers in first class and a bar in business class. Etihad even has flight attendants trained as flying nannies who can look after children from first class, business and economy cabins, offering face-painting, fun games and contests during the flight.
Emirates is the largest airline operating out of the Gulf and makes no secret of the fact that it started up with a subsidy of US$10m to buy three airplanes for its launch in 1985. In return it has paid over US$2.8bn in dividends to the Dubai Government’s investment arm. However since then it has received no further subsidies and the operating figures speak for themselves. In the last year the three airlines have, combined, increased their flights to the US by 47% and now they fly to 11 cities. Curiously, now, Emirates is able to deliver more people on a weekly basis from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Dubai than American Airlines can to London or Delta Air Lines flies to Atlanta from JFK. Because of Emirates’ code-share agreement with JetBlue Airways (B6) this additional service will allow for excellent connectivity with JetBlue flights to destinations across the United States and the Caribbean. At JFK, JetBlue operates out of Terminal 5, while Emirates operates out of the adjacent Terminal 4, which enables swift and straightforward connections between flights.



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