A look at competition between US and Middle East airlines

Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways have been in a bit of a political fight with the US Legacy Carriers (Delta, United, American).  The US carriers have repeatedly stated that they need more government protection from the Middle East Three because the Middle East airlines receive “billions in government subsidies” that have created an uneven playing field.  The US legacy carriers went as far as to release a white paper detailing their argument and their pleas for more government assistance.

Here’s the white paper from the US legacy carriers


“Emirates Rush Hour at DXB” by Mike Kelley (mpkelley.com), used with permission

 Back in June Emirates released a point-by-point rebuttal.  In their response they walk through each point that the US carriers have made and provided their response.

It’s well-researched, well-sourced, and I think makes a pretty compelling response from the ME3.  If nothing else it sums up just how important the Middle East airlines have become in today’s airline landscape.

Here’s a link to the Emirates paper.

As we go into 2016 there is no doubt more airline industry consolidation on the way, but at least legacy carriers seem to be settling down on that front for the moment.  The Emirates paper is a good summary of the competitive landscape of the industry itself, so I thought it’d be good to share on this first day of the new year.



  1. Wow! You must have a tremendous hangover. The post is not even mediocre, it is nothing. You take a topic that happen long time ago and don’t even care to offer some analysis or a new spin, you just paste a couple of links and done.

    • Thanks for the comment Nic! I’m happy to offer you a refund since you obviously didn’t appreciate the post.

      • Nic makes a valid point. That’s quite literally all you did. There’s no need to be passive aggressive about it.

        • David and Nic, I’ve never mentioned this topic on this blog before. I know you may be more informed than most, but from time to time I will post things like this that may have been well-covered elsewhere for the benefit of everyone who stops by.

          • Alright I can respect that. I got no issues with your content, just felt your quip about the refund was a little catty.

            Keep the posts coming man.

  2. I have read with amusement, about the ongoing saga of the US carriers v the ME3 and all I can do is laugh.

    With so few routes to the Middle East being operated by US carriers, direct from the USA, is it any wonder why the ME3 are cashing in, and good luck to them.

    I’ve travelled the links of American, Delta, United on numerous occasions, but find them no more than homely, at best. They sadly lack the flair and high levels of service from the links of Emirates (my preference of the three ME carriers).

    As for subsidies, I believe all three US carriers had huge subsidies when they filed for Chapter 11, at one time or another.

    Being based in the UK, we get no less than 77 flights a week from Emirates alone, using their A380s, plus others with their Boeing 777s. Qatar Airways operates five flights a day to Heathrow, plus others to Edinburgh, Birmingham (starts this year) and Edinburgh. Etihad also operates multi-daily Heathrow flights, as well as to Edinburgh and Manchester.

    Do you hear us complaining? Not a chance. British Airways has its own services, but far less numerous. Service is average. Virgin Atlantic flies to Dubai, but service is at best, poor.

    Like so many of us, we go with the best service and prices.

    Instead of bemoaning the ME3, try them and see for yourselves. If you don’t like them, don’t fly them, it’s that easy.

    • Paul, I agree with you. Especially with the devaluations that have taken place both to award charts and service levels over the years, the consumer trends appear to be moving towards the ME3 and rightly so. Consumers are screaming for an experience when they feel valued. Currently it seems the ME3 are providing that.

      • Thanks for your comments Andy.

        In any industry if the service is bad, you jump ship to an alternative supplier in order to get better service. Airlines should not be considered any different.

        The levels of service offered by the ME3 far out way those from the US legacy carriers, but they seem to think they are fireproof.

        When they see newcomers on the streets, they run to their “parents” and claim they are being bullied, when in fact it couldn’t be further from the truth.

        American is part of oneWorld, as you are so well aware, who are in an alliance with Qatar Airways. Yet AA is having a direct dig at them. Etihad is also a part of the AA FFP, but AA is having a dig at them as well.

        It all defies belief, but as more passengers try out the ME3, they will realise the legacy carriers are yesterday’s news.

  3. I agree with many of the responders what I have an issue and is getting very tiring is the regurgitation by many of the bloggers of old mediocre information OR their self importance that they got around a system, many of which don’t even have a real job.

    This is not a personal attack you personally rather many bloggers in general, it just ruins things for people as myself that travels on average 100K annually for work and another 25K or so for vacation.

    • That’s an understandable frustration, I travel about 100k miles for my full-time work annually and roughly 50k or so for leisure so I know where you’re coming from. This is my blog, nobody has editorial control over it but me. Getting to see a combined 275 pages of detailed industry information from two very different sources about a highly-regulated yet surprisingly secretive industry is valuable for everyone.

      • Hi Andy.

        Speaking as someone looking in from overseas, I find your blogs refreshing in that you state the facts and comment accordingly.

        You say it as it is. There may be some who don’t like what you say, but no one is forcing them to read the blog.

        Keep up the good work and all the very best for 2016.

  4. Been on this flight and it’s amazing,well recommended to you all to travel Emirates Airlines it’s fantastic service in all round…happy holiday you guys..xxx


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