Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Etihad's call over Europe landing slots

As the governments of the UAE and France enter talks over landing rights, Etihad's chief executive urges Europe to ignore the siren song of protectionism.

The chief executive of Etihad Airways has called on European governments to shun "protectionism" and ignore mounting pressure to deny airport landing rights to Gulf carriers.

He made his comments before a meeting next week between UAE and French officials in which future landing slot allocations in France will be discussed.

"We must not allow economic adversity to nudge us back towards protectionism," said James Hogan, the chief executive officer of Etihad, in a speech to the European Aviation Club in Brussels yesterday.

"Europe has led the way in the liberalisation of many markets and the economic benefits have been clear.

"Protecting a national carrier from open competition is a net negative policy setting for any economy," he added.

Mr Hogan said European carriers should consider increased competition with the Gulf a catalyst to modernise their businesses. Etihad hopes to break even for the first time this year.

Landing rights have been crucial for the UAE's airlines as they seek to expand their destinations often to the chagrin of western carriers, which allege that Gulf airlines receive unfair government subsidies.

Yesterday, the French newspaper La Tribune reported that Emirates Airline and Etihad would not be granted further landing rights at Paris airports, although they would be given access to regional French airports.

The newspaper did not name the source of its information.

A spokesman for Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civile, the French regulator, denied the reports, saying negotiations would not begin until Tuesday.

Paul Butler, an aviation analyst at Macquarie, said European carriers' complaints were likely to be countered by lobbying from the aircraft manufacturers that supply Gulf carriers.

"While you may see lobbying by the airlines for these rights not to be granted, you'll see Emirates and Etihad putting pressure on the likes of Airbus to give those landing rights," he said.

Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have a combined order book of 299 Airbus aircraft, worth US$80 billion (Dh293.83bn), Mr Hogan said.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 An air traffic control tower is seen at the central terminal of LaGuardia Airport on April 8, 2014. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

In pictures: New York’s LaGuardia Airport in need of a rebuild

With constraints on its resources and no appetite for further debt, private investors and developers are being tapped to rebuild the 50-year-old central terminal for $3.6 billion, instead of using traditional public finance methods.

 The bridge of Seajacks Hydra, as the wind farm installation vessel undergoes finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Building the Seajacks Hydra

The Seajacks Hydra, a wind farm installation vessel, is undergoing finishing touches and testing works at Lamprell’s Hamriyah facility in Sharjah before its planned delivery on June 2, 2014.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 An Uber taxi driver drives his car through a street in New Delhi, India. Saurabh Das / AP Photo

In pictures: On-demand cab service app Uber targets India

Taxi-hailing smartphone app Uber is making a big push into Asia with the company starting operations in 18 cities in Asia and the South Pacific including Seoul, Shanghai, Bangkok, Hong Kong and five Indian cities in the last year.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National