Middle East airlines are the future, and they're all for fliers

Middle Eastern carriers have grown because they're ambitious, innovative with their product, and have invested in quality service.

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Published: Mon 18 May 2015, 10:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 7:49 PM

American airlines are missing the larger issue of passengers and their comfort in the air when they make allegations that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are powered by subsidies from their governments which gives them an unfair advantage to fly to the US.

Competition is good for the future of aviation, which is now being lost in a cloud of allegations and lobbying. If fliers have a range of options to choose from, they will go with the better product in the skies, which Middle East carriers offer at attractive rates.

Emirates’ slogan, Hello Tomorrow, sums it up nicely. The future of aviation is here in the Middle East and the ground is definitely shifting from the legacy carriers in Europe and the US. When the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta and United lobby together against the expansion of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, it means the cartels of old-world flying are joining hands to keep passengers’ choices down to a few carriers.

They want the US government to check this expansion by the upstarts, as the three carriers already operate 24 daily non-stop flights to the US. The Obama administration says it will respond to their demands by the end of the month.

Etihad, meanwhile, presented its own report, which shows the US airlines enjoyed $70 billion in bankruptcy protection and pension help from the government. Qatar slammed the service offered by the three American carriers and called them greedy in their bid to control the market.

Protectionist policies are the bane of aviation and fliers will be the losers if the American carriers have their way with the White House. Middle East airlines have turned their geographical disadvantage to an advantage over time with the rise of emerging markets in China and India.

People can hop on to an Emirates, Etihad or Qatar Airways flight from New Delhi or Beijing. A long-haul flight will then take them to cities in the US from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Qatar.

Traditional stop-overs in Frankfurt or London are not necessary with the emergence of the region’s own big three airlines who have seamlessly linked the East with the West.

Middle Eastern carriers have grown because they’re ambitious, innovative with their product, and have invested in quality service. The operate a younger, modern fleet of aircraft, which are environment-friendly, and can fly longer distances. They’ve taken the Open Skies policy to heart and have welcomed the competition with legacy carriers.

Fliers are certainly not complaining about this pampering in the skies. Charges of unfair trade practices won’t stick because the Middle East carriers have been fair to passengers. They have given them premium experience which will revolutionise the sector. What’s wrong with that?

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