Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, wants a truce with U.S. carriers.
He’s tried of being vilified and thinks a partnership with American, Delta, and United would benefit everyone involved.
In an interview with Business Insider, Clark scolded U.S. carriers for their childish whining.
They need to grow up and we need to have a mature way of going about our business.
He added that these carriers cannot show any direct harm by the presence of Gulf Carriers in the USA, maintaining that the biggest beneficiary of Open Skies has been the U.S. economy:
The beneficiaries of Open Skies driven by the likes of us has been the US economy and that’s kindly marginalized in the US3’s narrative. We asked them to show competitive harm, but they won’t because they can’t.
In a subtle jab to American and United, both of which maintain hubs at Chicago O’Hare, Clark questions why these airlines would give up lucrative connecting traffic from Emirates.
It seems to be lost on them that this can work and make everybody happy. For goodness sake, all of the business we bring across (the ocean). Don’t you think they’d want to go other places than Chicago?
He also mentions how well Emirates’ partnership is working out with JetBlue and Alaska Airlines:
Think about the feed we do give to my friend Robin Hayes who runs JetBlue in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, and Boston. And on the other side, I’ve got Brad Tilden with Alaska on Seattle and all the points down there.
Thus, he wants an interline deal with the U.S. legacy carriers.
What they’ve done is cut the interline deal. Emirates can’t sell tickets on any of them. I mean talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.
I’m going to assume the usually erudite Clark was being serious and not facetious. Even so, his analysis lacks one important fact: direct competition.
No, none of the U.S. legacies serve the Middle East directly anymore beyond Israel. But Emirates’ strategy goes far beyond transporting passengers to the Middle East. Instead, Emirates wants to transport passengers to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia via the Middle East.
These routes compete directly with American, Delta, and United who also serve Europe, India, East Asia, and Australia. Why would Delta, United or American want to make it easy for passengers to fly a short domestic hop on their metal and connect on Emirates for the longhaul(s)? Because the choice isn’t Emirates or no one, but in many cases Emirates or themselves.
Clark points to two U.S. airlines Emirates works well with, but neither JetBlue or Alaska have wide body planes or serve overseas route. Just as Emirates feeds them traffic, JetBlue and Alaska feed Emirates traffic.
While any interline deal benefits consumers, working with Emirates would help Emirates far more than it helps U.S. airlines.