GERMAN FLAG CARRIER SET TO DO WHAT IT CAN TO BLOCK EMIRATES FROM NEW BERLIN-BRANDENBURG AIRPORT – ARE THEY RIGHT TO?

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 17, 2011 10:15

GERMAN FLAG CARRIER SET TO DO WHAT IT CAN TO BLOCK EMIRATES FROM NEW BERLIN-BRANDENBURG AIRPORT – ARE THEY RIGHT TO?

Harald Wolf, the deputy mayor of Berlin, was reported as saying Lufthansa was pushing the federal government to refuse Emirates direct flights to the capital through the Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport, which is nearing completion.

Lufthansa is looking to prevent landing slots at Berlin’s new Brandenburg airport being awarded to Emirates Airlines upon commencement of operations in 2012. Lufthansa is now publicly saying it will attempt to block Emirates from bidding for slots because the Dubai based carrier has “an unfair advantage” in services between Germany and the UAE.

Lufthansa’s Wolfgang Weber stated “We think there is a big imbalance in the allocation of slots, Emirates already flies to four airports in Germany while we only fly to one destination in Dubai. They have between five and six times more business on that route as a result,” he said: “We can’t predict what decision the German government will take. We can only express our opinion. There is no bilateral air traffic relationship with any other country that is as unequal as between Germany and Dubai.”

Lufthansa is right to be worried, other countries within the EU such as the UK and France are more restrictive in their slot allocations towards Emirates than Germany and as such an amount of protection is afforded.

Europe’s flag carriers are increasingly public in their worries about the growth of Middle East airlines and they are right to be, the flag carriers of the UAE and Qatar are impressive: they are modern, liberalized and slick. Moreover and most important of all, the flag carriers of the Middle East have total support from their governments. Many of you reading this will now think yes we know they have fuel support, landing fee support, financial support including export credit and diplomatic support… If they do receive these benefits in all or in part then surely it is their home governments other airlines should be turning against, not the well run and well supported Middle East airlines. The European flag carriers when they joined forces against the export credit rules in December looked for once like an impressive lobbying force but over the past few weeks the message has faded from the news once more. European flag carriers must join together and publicly lobby the European Commission, with the aid of the French they are bound to get some protectionist measures passed in some shape or form.

When the companies clashed last year Emirates accused Lufthansa in June of making “false and deliberately misleading” claims designed to block the Dubai airline’s request for additional access in Germany. The response will be the same this time around. But we must remember that Lufthansa has a larger amount of flights into Emirates’ main hub than the other way around and the big newsflash is this……..Dubai is all but a city state so where else can Lufthansa get routes to? Second sand dune to the right anyone!

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP January 17, 2011 10:15
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