Emirates Airline yesterday highlighted its contribution of more than €10 billion to the European economy as it looks to thwart accusations from western rivals of unfair commercial practices and receiving state subsidies.
A study by the London-based consultancy Frontier Economics, commissioned by Emirates, estimates that the Dubai carrier, through its operations and aircraft purchases, supports 126,000 jobs across Europe.
Frontier estimates that Emirates’ operations, meanwhile, supported 85,100 jobs across the European Union in 2013 and 2014, equivalent to €6.8 billion (Dh27.89bn) of the total EU GDP.
The airline’s Airbus A380 deliveries for the same period supported 41,000 jobs, equivalent to €3.4bn of GDP.
The US airlines Delta, United and American recently criticised the Gulf airlines as unfairly subsidised and anti-competitive under the long-standing “Open Skies” agreements.
“Some of Emirates’ competitors have in the past accused the airline of having a negative impact on Europe, but the Frontier analysis paints a different picture,” said Dan Elliott, the founder and director of Frontier.
“Our research shows that the direct, indirect and induced impact of Emirates’ operations and the development of connectivity to secondary cities in particular, makes a substantial contribution to gross domestic product in the European Union. The economic value this connectivity brings to the EU is at times underappreciated,” he added.
Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, said: “Emirates’ economic impact is significant; based on Frontier’s report, we supported over 100,000 jobs across Europe through our operations and our aircraft purchases from Airbus. By stimulating demand for travel and cargo, especially in markets underserved by other airlines, Emirates contributes to the economies of the communities we serve.”
The European airlines Air France-KLM and Lufthansa have attacked Emirates and other Gulf carriers for their growing presence in the long-haul intercontinental market.
“The Emirates business model is robust and it works. People can say all the nasty things they like, but this doesn’t take away from the fact that customers like to travel with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar,” said Peter Morris, the chief economist at the aviation consultancy Ascend.
Emirates said that the research highlighted the “value of connectivity” of Emirates’ operations by flying to European destinations underserved by other airlines.”
“Traditionally, international travel from Europe involved flying from or often backtracking to one of the big European hubs,” the carrier said. “This contributed to a connectivity gap for other major European cities, restricting their ability to develop trade and foreign direct investment opportunities.
“Since launching services to Europe in 1987, Emirates has helped bridge this gap, by gradually and on the basis of demand, increasing services to major and secondary cities across Europe,” the airline said.
Emirates operates 350 passenger flights to Europe per week.
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