Air Canada and Emirates square off at IATA AGM

Airlines from Europe and North America used the IATA AGM as a forum to continue criticisms of Middle East carriers for protectionism – an argument that the Middle East carriers argue has been discredited by a report from Oxford Research. Air Canada chief, Robert Milton, described the three main Gulf carriers of Emirates, Etihad and […]


Air Canada Emirates Etihad IATA AGM Qatar Airways


Airlines from Europe and North America used the IATA AGM as a forum to continue criticisms of Middle East carriers for protectionism – an argument that the Middle East carriers argue has been discredited by a report from Oxford Research. Air Canada chief, Robert Milton, described the three main Gulf carriers of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways as being “the most protected carriers in the world that cannot be allowed unfettered access to markets.” “They are arguing for free access, but aren’t we talking about the most protected, most government supported carriers around? There are none more state-owned than these three,” he said. Emirates president Tim Clark responded by repeating that Dubai is an open economy with open skies. He described the arguments about government aid as being “like a cracked record”. Addressing Milton, he said: “Show me evidence of a non level playing field. Our books are open”. Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker reiterated his point from last year’s forum in Berlin saying the arguments against Gulf carriers make little sense in an “age of globalisation and free trade”.