The Gulf Carriers Vs The Three Major US Carriers

Hello all,

I’d like to talk about the “battle” between the gulf carriers (being Emirates, Qatar and Etihad) and the 3 leading Airlines in the American market - United, Delta and American. This battle is mainly over the “Open Skies” agreement which allows the gulf carriers to operate several flights to the US including destinations such as; Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, New York and many more. Delta, United and American say that:

“The US airlines industry is under attack by a three pronged assault from the airlines of the Arabian Gulf.”

The Gulf airlines, unlike the three from the US, are all government owned, meaning that they receive millions, if not billions, of funding injections, meaning they can grow and expand much more abruptly then the US carriers. They can offer elite aircraft: such as the A350 (Qatar) and carry a vast amount of passangers in one trip, due Etihad and Emirates operating the A380 on US routes, refurbish their cabins and offer seats at a lower price. According to the US they have “flooded the market.” The Open Skies agreement, which is what allows the carriers to operate flights to the US, aims for a “fair and equal opportunity to compete,” which the US airlines believe the Gulf carriers are not providing. The CEO of Qatar fired back saying:

“The US airlines only have themselves to blame”

Due to President Trumps’ travel ban from Middle Eastern countries, Emirates have seen a drop in seat bookings for the US flights, causing them to decrease the number of flights. The US carries are calling for the Governemt to freeze flights to the US operated by; Etihad, Emirates and Qatar.

Id like to know your thoughts on this: do you agree with the US carriers, or do you think the Gulf carriers aren’t doing anything wrong?


This is my first Real World Aviation topic


Well there are some points in there that make sense but other than that you obviously did your research, well done


I’d been following the issue for quite a while. It felt appropriate to share :)


So the Gulf airlines are like a invasive species in a good Ecosystem (the United States) and the Americans are trying to push them out.

No, they are not doing anything wrong. An airline’s job is to operate aircraft which bring people from A to B and there’s no difference between America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Africa.

I completely agree with him.


That’s how the US airlines see them yes.

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I agree with him too. The US airlines have the aircraft capable to fly people to the Middle East: Delta’s A350, American 773 and United’s Dreamliners

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I don’t care what all these Trump protectionists are saying.

You can’t compete, you’re out!

The gulf carriers aren’t cheating. They just offer a better product.


Completely agree with you on that, however Trump’s ban has played into the hands of the US carriers.

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Like you @Ethan11, I am well researched in this topic, and I don’t see what the three American legacy carriers are complaining about either. None of them offer a comparable service to any of the gulf cities to give those carriers a competition. That is like saying because Azerbaijan airlines is the only airline serving flights from Baku to the U.S. is cheating because they are flooding the market with routes to their country. Honestly, that is how it should be. Take the London to New York route, if American carriers have a higher market share than British airways their is a problem. I feel there is an underlying problem the U.S. carriers have that they discussed with the president during their meeting.

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Exactly, i couldn’t agree more with you. Take Qatar Airways, it is the flag carrier of Doha, Qatar, so obviously they are going to operate a vast amount of routes from Doha to American cities. Saying that, they also offer routes to London, Tokyo and Melbourne. Qantas (Melbourne to Doha), British Airways (London to Doha) and Japan Airlines (Tokyo to Doha) also offer these routes as well as Qatar Airways and they aren’t complaining. If American, United and Delta feel they are losing out on the market…

…then launch a new route to Doha, no one is stopping you. Freezing the Gulf airlines access to America won’t do the United States economy any good.

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All Delta, American and United do is moan, moan and moan. Maybe if they actually refurbished their aircraft and offered a brilliant product there would be no issues. Just because people are flocking to the better value for money airline and the one with the better products and services doesn’t mean you throw a tantrum. Do Something About It! Delta with the new A350 and united and American with the B77W have improved things with nice cabins and decent seats but their main long haul fleets still aren’t good in my opinion. I do think Delta is probably the best, but considering BA is pretty similar to those airlines I will not hesitate to pick Qatar over it as it’s miles better.

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Maybe I’m missing the point of your comment, but the reason for an airline is noisy to get you from point a to point b. It’s to deliver you yes, but it provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of employees and they in turn provide for families who provide for ocmmunites who pay taxes who pay the government.
This is a lot more important on our ecosystem than a simple choice. If US airlines are not getting the money and passengers needed they will get less and less revenue which may (not that it will happen) involve pay cuts which mean people may leave the companies looking for better jobs.
It’s a whole downworld spiral.

Personally I think the big three US airlines have a point. I side with them. Just like I think Chinese workers are taken advantage of by America for their low wages and should be paid better by the Chinese government. It’s all about the jobs and pay and when you take that away you get some bad results.

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The US airlines are overreacting to something which they know how to deal with.

  1. The US airlines don’t serve markets that the gulf carriers serve. For instance Delta is the only US carrier serving Africa, there is no US carrier serving the gulf region. United is the only US airline serving India. The thing about gulf airlines that has been successful is connecting the US to markets that the US3 don’t serve. US airlines should start connecting the world not building barriers in the sky.

  2. The gulf airlines offer superior service to what the US3 offer. People always want to get the best deal and that’s where the ME3 shine. The ME3 are consistently ranked in the top 10 airline category by Skytrax. Improve your products US3!!

  3. Jobs
    While the US3 are hesitant to buying more planes, the ME3 have a combined order of more than 200 Boeing widebody Planes which translates to more jobs for the aerospace industry in the US. The ME3 also create new job opportunities every time a new route is opened. Who said the US aviation industry is in danger?

The US3 have a chance to effectively compete with the ME3. The US3 airlines are the most profitable airlines in the world so improving the product and increasing connectivity should not be an issue. For now, I’m with the ME3 with their superior product.


Provide all the examples in a DM or comment below of all their “moan moan and moans”. Their concerns here are not a product of moaning,
If you can provide valid evidence for your proof I’m more than willing to change my view. But so far you have offered factual statements without any backing.

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The whole point of this topic is due to this agreement right? That’s them continuously moaning.

This is not related to protectionism in way such as steel industries in the US or the U.K. are diminishing thanks to cheap steel from Asia. This is about businesses that want to wipe out the foreign competition because they are providing better products.

Well, if they had more money, they would do the same as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad. The difference is that they have the money and use it to provide a good a service and paying their staff well.
My opinion is the same as @Kiz’s. If you read his post you will also know my opinion.

This is a modern day incident and I do not believe this would fall under “moaning”. I’m asking for evidence throughout their existence where they have done nothing but complain. You said all they do is moan. If your only point of reference is this specific article you should rephrase to say “all the theee legacy carriers have done so far in this incident is to moan about it”.

That’s all :)

Ask yourself, when was the last time AA actually served Africa or the gulf(instead of funnelling pax through Heathrow with the help of BA), when was United last ranked as one of the best airlines by tripadvisor?

Never. It’s all about service. The ME3 know this so do the Asian carries(SQ, CX, GA etc). People will fly long haul with whoever offers the best service.

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The Gulf airlines have a USP, being the only airlines to fly from the Middle East to Americans Cities. Which is a key to good business. If you think they’re “flooding” the market, then the US airlines should put up comepetion.