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No merger with Etihad! Emirates chief emphatic

March 14, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

After scorning reports that Emirates and Etihad plan to merge, creating a gigantic Gulf super-carrier dwarfing other airlines, Emirates president Tim Clark had quite a bit to say on other matters.

Speaking to reporters at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin, Clark dismissed reports that the ruling families of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – who own the two airlines – were discussing a plan to merge them. Clark described the rumours as “nonsense”, a comment reported by Bloomberg news service and carried by Al Bawaba Middle Eastern news channels.http://www.rembrandtbkk.com/

A more pressing matter facing Clark is US President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban on seven mainly Muslim countries – which has led to a 35% decline in bookings, Clark confirmed. The strong opposition to Emirates by a trio of US carriers – American, Delta and United – is another thorn in the Gulf carrier’s side.

On other issues, Clark said the impact on Emirates of low-cost airlines moving onto intercontinental routes was a “gathering storm” for which he and the airline were braced.

One example of a low-cost airline doing exactly that, though Clarke did not mention it, is the decision by Singapore Airlines subsidiary Scoot to fly to Athens from June. It will offer Australians a one-stop connection to Europe at low-cost-carrier fares.

Clark said Emirates might need to establish a short-haul fleet to serve nearby points in the Middle East, which he said were now opening up.

Also, Emirates needed to recognise that plane makers were producing aircraft that could fly “far longer quite cheaply”, he said.

Written by Peter Needham

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