Amid Mounting Subsidized Flights by Gulf Carriers, United Cancels Service to Dubai
Cancellation Follows GSA’s Selection of JetBlue/Emirates as Preference for Government Officials Traveling to Dubai, Violating Spirit of Fly America Act
Washington, D.C. (December 9, 2015) – United Airlines today announced it is discontinuing its Washington Dulles to Dubai route, effective January 23, 2016. The decision comes following the U.S. government’s General Services Administration (GSA) announcement that all federal government employees, including military personnel, traveling to Dubai will be required to fly on Emirates. Emirates is the state-owned carrier of the United Arab Emirates, and will carry U.S. government officials through its codeshare partnership with JetBlue. United notes that the massive Gulf carrier subsidies coupled with the recent decision by GSA have made the airlines’ Dulles to Dubai route unsustainable. The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies chief spokesperson Jill Zuckman released the following statement in response to the route cancellation:
“This is just the latest example of the economic harm caused by unchecked, massive government subsidies to the Gulf airlines. United’s decision is further proof that the billions of dollars in Gulf carrier subsidies have distorted the playing field and made true competition impossible for U.S. carriers. When this happens, the men and women of the U.S. aviation industry are the ones who are hurt. We encourage the Obama administration to show its commitment to hardworking Americans and begin a dialogue with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to level the playing field in the aviation industry.”
United’s announcement comes less than two months after Delta announced plans to terminate service between Atlanta and Dubai in February 2016. In a statement at the time, Delta referenced the Gulf carrier subsidies as one of the reasons for the cuts, saying “cancellation of nonstop service between Atlanta and Dubai comes amid overcapacity on U.S. routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and subsidized airlines. As a result, Delta has been forced to redeploy the 777 aircraft on this route to a market that’s not distorted by government subsidization of state-owned airlines.”
Click here to view United Airlines’ announcement.