Are the three big Middle East carriers distorting the international aviation market ?


More and more organisations, airlines and experts in trade, economics and aviation have shown concern over the massive expansion of the three Middle East carriers Etihad Airways, Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways (ME3). The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies -a coalition composed of US airlines and different US organisations- claim that the nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are funneling billions of dollars in government subsidies to their state-owned airlines, distorting the international aviation market and undermining fair competition.

Europeans for Fair Competition (E4FC), a coalition of concerned Europeans – airline employees, passengers, companies, and many others who are fighting to save European aviation and its related employment – is also concerned how the ME3 carriers are distorting the European marketplace, threatening EU jobs and the larger EU economy.

Some of E4FC-member statements :

When a subsidised Gulf carrier pushes competition off a route, 600 fewer Europeans have well-paying aviation jobs. That means that 600 European families are no longer contributing to the economy.

With the largest aircraft available on the market, Emirates is collecting the passengers in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, and Paris and flying them to Dubai. Etihad is complementing this approach by buying stakes in ailing European airlines and using them as feeders to its own hub. Air Berlin is a perfect example: as soon as Etihad took a stake in Air Berlin, the German airline canceled all direct flights to Asia and East Africa. At the end there was only one destination in that direction: Abu Dhabi. The Emirate wants to replace Frankfurt and Munich as hubs. (Lufthansa Docket submission)

The true extent of Gulf subsidisation will never be known because the ME3 airlines operate behind a thick veil of secrecy.

E4FC is about :

  • Promoting, restoring and protecting a level playing field for European aviation;
  • Promoting fair and balanced air service agreements and require enforcement of compliance with them;
  • Protecting European aviation workers from the threat of job loss due to unprecedented state-subsidized airline expansion;
  • Providing solutions how air service/open skies agreements should address a disproportional flow of state subsidized carrier capacity to and from Europe.

The E4FC is calling on our individual nations and EU governing bodies to enforce international aviation rules, ensure competition is level, and end the Gulf subsidies.

E4FC website:

Not only Europe is complaining about the Middle Eastern three big airlines: to explain the threat subsidized state-owned Gulf carriers pose to Delta, the U.S. aviation industry and millions of jobs, the airline produced for its employees a ?video featuring the perspectives of Delta employees and executives, as well as experts in trade, economics and aviation.


  1. “When a subsidised Gulf carrier pushes competition off a route, 600 fewer Europeans have well-paying aviation jobs. That means that 600 European families are no longer contributing to the economy.“
    Yes ! so it’s unbelievable the EU granted an opensky agreement to Qatar effective this year ..
    European Commission Director General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei told a CAPA summit in Doha the deal would help ensure open and fair markets. He did not elaborate. ‘
    Sometimes I question the integrity of those people in charge taking really strange decisions. Qatar has so much money to distribute, I feel the politicians and commissioners in charge should be screened in a more systematic way.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.