Emirates attacks EU move to assist Europe’s airlines

Commission tries to boost European carriers’ competitiveness
The European Commission wants to be given the power to negotiate EU-wide air traffic agreements with the Gulf states as a way of boosting the competitiveness of European carriers against their Middle Eastern rivals. But the move is being criticised by Emirates.
Emirates is protesting that competition issues were already covered by existing bilateral agreements on air services between individual countries.
The EC announcement was part of a range of measures under its new aviation strategy, which aims to “place the EU as a leading player in international aviation, while guaranteeing a level playing field”.
The new EU aviation strategy has been welcomed by Europe’s biggest five airline companies – International Airlines Group, Air France-KLM, Lufthansa, easyJet and Ryanair – which said in a joint statement: “We need to act now – large scale airport monopolies, high charges, taxation and inefficiencies characterise the aviation supply chain.”
They added: “The focus must be on concrete and measurable actions that support European airlines and their customers by providing more flights and lower fares.”
But Emirates disputes whether EU-wide air traffic agreements are needed.
“Competition-related issues are already covered under existing sovereign bilateral air service agreements, as well as existing EU regulation,” said the Dubai-based airline. “Therefore we find it interesting that rather than use these tools to address specific grievances, the European Commission is instead looking at a new EU-level policy.”
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