AEA LAUNCHES ATTACK ON GULF CARRIERS

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP April 4, 2011 19:00

AEA LAUNCHES ATTACK ON GULF CARRIERS

Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, secretary general of the Association of European Airlines (AEA), has hit out at gulf carriers and accused them of launching “pre-emptive strikes” against their European rivals.

He said the Gulf carriers aren’t competing on a level playing field with European airlines because they have “no meaningful competition rules, no consumer-protection rules, as we have in Europe”.

The comments were made in an open letter published by the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, who addressed comments made by Schulte-Strathaus at the International Aviation Club in Washington concerning the rise of Gulf carriers. “The European airlines were pioneers in a large number of areas. We in the Gulf airlines community have learnt a lot from them,” Al Baker wrote “They should accept competition and that the customer being in the driver’s seat…where does this protectionism end?”

Schulte-Strathaus accused Gulf carriers of expanding beyond their means to dominate long haul routes and divert traffic through their local hubs: “Akbar Al Baker will never persuade me that his country of 1.7 million ‘needs’ an airline with the long-haul capability of British Airways, Air France or Lufthansa.”

“Our sector was liberalised in 1993, so we have close to 20 years’ experience of operating as commercial enterprises rather than national institutions. We find no such corresponding rules in the Middle East.”

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By TESTCustomwebLP TESTCustomwebLP April 4, 2011 19:00
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