Emirates may use Europe hubs to expand in U.S.

4030 / Emirates: DEUTSCHLAND, SACHSEN, DRESDEN (GERMANY, SAXONY), 06.07.2005: Uebergabe 1. Airbus Frachter A310-300 an Emirates - 1st A310-300 Emirates Airbus freighter conversion -Sven Doering / EFW-

4030 / Emirates: DEUTSCHLAND, SACHSEN, DRESDEN (GERMANY, SAXONY), 06.07.2005: Uebergabe 1. Airbus Frachter A310-300 an Emirates – 1st A310-300 Emirates Airbus freighter conversion -Sven Doering / EFW-

Tim Clark, the CEO of Emirates Airlines, can’t seem to help stirring up the pot over the open skies debate with U.S. carriers. According to Reuters, Emirates is considering opening new routes to the U.S. from Dubai, in addition to flying new routes from Europe under its fifth-freedom rights with the United States, in defiance of requests from U.S. carriers that want to alter Emirates’ open skies over a government subsidy controversy.

Fifth-freedom rights give a carrier the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country. Emirates already flies between Milan and New York, a frequency launched in 2013.

“Expand further from European hubs into the U.S? Yes, we might do that,” Clark said. “The kind of abuse we’ve been getting might cause us to do it.”

The abuse Clark is referring to is the furor brought upon Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways by the three U.S. legacy carriers, Delta, United and American. The U.S. carriers have accused the Gulf airlines of receiving more than US$40 billion in government subsidies, which they say creates an unlevel playing field. The Gulf carriers have held firm that they have built their companies from the ground up. In fact, they have called the U.S. carriers out on the fact that they have all filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at one point or another, which is akin to a government bailout.

“We might say to [Delta Air Lines CEO) Richard Anderson that we’re just going to do what the U.S. government wanted back in 1999: to go trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific with fifth-freedom open skies,” Clark said.

Clark also was quoted as saying “an awful lot” of people in Europe wanted to fly to the other hemisphere, not just to the United States, but also to Mexico, South America, the Caribbean and elsewhere.

“And after Milan, we can see how profitable it is. If the Danes or the Swedes were to come to us and say ‘we haven’t got enough flights into the U.S, would you consider it?’ yes, we might do that,” Clark said.

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