Middle East airlines “unstoppable” in Europe

Former Lufthansa exec says Emirates is closing gap on rivals

As European airlines continue to struggle they risk losing more and more business to the benefit of the Middle East’s rapidly growing carriers. This is the view of a senior Emirates executive, Frenchman Thierry Antinori, a former executive with Lufthansa who decided not to be CEO at Austrian Airlines last year in preference to joining the biggest Arab airline. Airlines like Emirates are ideally positioned to keep expanding, he said, while their European rivals fall into a downward financial spiral.
“I think with our geographical position and the quality of products and networks we are offering, there is clearly an opportunity for the Middle East airlines to strengthen their position on the global industry map,” he told a press conference. “I even consider the coming years as an opportunity for Emirates to increase the gap with some of our competitors, because we are just looking at what the customer wants.”
Emirates is not interesting in buying or bailing out airlines in Europe, he added, as Etihad Airways has done with Air Berlin and is rumoured to be doing with Aer Lingus. “We prefer to rely on our product, so we prefer to buy airplanes than airlines,” Antinori said.
[pictured: Emirates Boeing 777-200LR]