Airlines Say Emirates' Athens-Newark Flight Violates Agreement

January 23, 2017

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Emirates on Monday announced a Dubai to Newark Liberty route via Athens, prompting a furious reaction from US airlines.

Fifth freedom rights on the route allow the Dubai-based airline to pick up passengers in Athens and fly them to Newark and vice versa. Emirates says there is no other current year-round service between the two cities.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, representing major US international carriers, reacted to the announcement saying “Emirates is throwing down the gauntlet.”

The group says three Gulf carriers, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, have received over USD$50 billion in government subsidies in violation of Open Skies agreements. The airlines deny the accusations.

Partnership for Open & Fair Skies spokesperson Jill Zuckman said “We look forward to working with President Trump and his team to enforce these agreements and protect American jobs – something that the Obama administration failed to do.”

The partnership comprises American, Delta and United airlines, and several US unions.

Emirates said the airline was approached by the Greek government and Athens Airport to establish the route.

“After careful review, Emirates concluded that extending one of our Dubai-Athens flights to Newark would be commercially and operationally feasible”, Emirates president Tim Clark said in a statement.

“We would like to thank the authorities and our partners in both the US and Greece for their support of the new route,” he added.