Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark has hit back at American carriers accusing the Gulf airline of unjustly benefiting from government subsidies, saying that his company “has nothing to hide.”
Business Insider reports that Clark denied charges that Emirates has violated international Open Skies agreements, as alleged by the industry trade group Airlines for America.
“We have provided our financials. We treat ourselves like a publicly listed company. We’re not, we’re a private company,” Clark said.
“The government of Dubai, which owns Emirates, doesn’t have to publish anything. But we publish everything to the sixth decimal place and we’re audited. We’ve never made anything secret because we have nothing to hide.”
American, Delta, and United Airlines have tried to block Emirates from expanding in the US, claiming that a purported $50 billion in subsidies received from the government of Dubai gives Emirates an unfair advantage over domestic carriers.
Earlier this month a representative for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies coalition praised US president Donald Trump for his crackdown on Middle Eastern carriers, saying that Trump had “moved mountains in understanding that these subsidies are contrary to Open Skies agreements and need to be addressed”.
But referring to the Open Skies agreement signed by the US and the United Arab Emirates in 1999, Clark stated that the US airlines “need to be reminded of the fact that we have not one inch stepped over the line with regard to what you’re allowed to do.”
“Did they prescribe no state-owned aircraft?” he said of the Open Skies agreement. “Did they prescribe no semi-state owned aircraft? Did they prescribe that your labour had to be paid a minimum of this? Did they prescribe that your stakeholders in the aviation field had to be this? No, it wasn’t. None of that was there.”
Clark said that going after Emirates on Open Skies could more broadly damage competition in the US, since Asian and European airlines also receive direct or indirect support from their governments.
He also said that if the US airlines were successful in blunting Emirates’ growth plans, the airline “certainly won’t need those 150 planes” the airline currently has on order from US aircraft company Boeing.