Emirates is preparing a "line-by-line response" to
allegations from a coalition of U.S. carriers that it is receiving an unfair
competitive advantage via government subsidies and special benefits, Emirates
president and CEO Tim Clark said.
Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference, Clark said data
presented earlier this month by the newly formed Partnership for Open &
Fair Skies—a coalition including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United
Airlines and some airline trade organizations that is asking the U.S. government
to revisit Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar amid
those allegations of unfair competition—contained "factually incorrect"
figures. For Emirates, the partnership specifically cited a total of $6 billion
in government subsidies and benefits, including a $2.4 billion government
assumption of fuel-hedging losses and $2.3 billion in subsidized airport
"At no point did we have any form of subsidy given to
us, in cash or whatever; there is a lot of low-hanging fruit, and it will be
easy to respond," Clark said. "The transparency of our business model
and operations is known to everybody, and this is not the first time we've been
accused of receiving subsidies or aid."
Clark added that he has begun meeting with various
policymakers and had "very constructive" conversations and that the
airline had no intention of changing its expansion plans for the United States.
"We decided that the United States would be
a key part of our expansion strategy, and that we would be looking at 20 cities
in the United States, and we intend to progress with that," he said. "We
see no reason why there should be any retardation in what we're doing."