The French government has granted Emirates an additional three weekly flights from next month. One is to Paris Charles de Gaulle with the other two allowed at Lyon.

I was alerted to this news piece by Forum contributor ‘christopheL’ who wrote “Do I need to say that AF is not very happy with this ?  But business is business …”

France, like Germany, is a restrictive market for Emirates.

Yesterday, La Tribune reported that the French government had granted Emirates an additional three weekly flights from next month [AUGUST].

The additional flights are already displayed on

Emirates will be operating three daily A380 services from Paris CDG plus a daily B777-300ER from Lyon.

All told it represents a 10 per cent increase in capacity for Emirates in the French market.

It has been pointed out that, given Emirates’ size, a 10 per cent capacity increase is insignificant.

But the point is that Emirates is a global carrier.  Many/most passengers departing Paris and Lyon will be destined for points beyond Dubai in Africa, Asia and Australasia.

It means therefore that these additional passengers will generate much revenue for the Dubai-based carrier.

If you read the La Tribune piece closely you will learn that the flight slots were originally awarded to the UAE and therefore the government has agreed that Emirates take over slots which might have been used (in better times) by its Abu Dhabi-rival Etihad.

It really is “business is business” in this case.  The French government, according to La Tribune, granted the slots to maintain good diplomatic and commercial relations with Emirates and Dubai. After all it is Emirates who has kept the A380 programme alive.

In a statement to Business Traveller,  Air France’s International PR in Paris says:

“Air France is committed to the development of fair competition.  It supports the negotiation process as initiated by the [European] Commission with the Gulf States to establish fair competition.”

“In this context, Air France has repeatedly stated to [French] government representatives, including the [French] prime minister, its opposition to the granting of additional traffic rights to Gulf carriers.”

“Air France deplores this decision which goes against the actions taken at a European level.”