Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul airline announced on Monday that it will be adding a new route which would involve a stop in Athens, Greece on its flight between its home base of Dubai and a final destination of New Jersey, USA.
The new daily flight of Dubai-Athens-Newark will start March 12, 2017. This type of flight is known as a ‘fifth freedom’ flight which allows the carrier to have stops in foreign countries on flights that originate or have a final destination of its home country — in this case, the United Arab Emirates (UAB).
The announcement of such a flight has angered the U.S. lobby group, Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, that claims the Emirates is “flagrantly violating” their U.S. aviation agreement and that they will take up the matter with the new Trump administration in interest of protecting American jobs, according to foxbussiness.com. The lobby group represents airlines such as United, American, Delta and other U.S. carriers.
The question remains if the new Dubai-Athens-Newark flight from Emirates is one that the U.S. lobby group can argue against. For example, the airlines must prove that the flight puts American jobs at risk, and considering that U.S. airlines do not even offer year-round access to flights to Greece, Will Horton, senior analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation says that the U.S. carriers has their work cut out for them in making their case.
Along with accusing Emirates of violating the U.S. aviation agreement, many American carriers have made claims that the major Gulf carriers of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have all been involved with unfair competition in allegedly receiving state subsidies totaling over $50 billion. The Gulf carriers have all denied the accusations.