Emirates Airline plans US expansion

President Tim Clark says the region is hugely important as the airline scouts new cities in the United States.

Emirates is seeking new destinations to fly to in the United States. Thomas Peter / Reuters
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Emirates Airline, the largest international carrier, is planning an expansion that would make the US market one of its three largest sources of revenue, said Tim Clark, president of the Dubai-based carrier.

Although the US now drives just 7 per cent of Emirates’ sales, the region is “hugely important” to the carrier, Mr Clark told the World Routes Strategy Summit in Chicago. The airline is scouting new cities to add to its network after beginning service last month in Chicago, the carrier’s ninth US destination.

US airline executives, including Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, and union leaders have been wary of Emirates, claiming the airline unfairly benefits from subsidies by the UAE. Since its mid-1980s founding the carrier has grown to a fleet of 230 widebody jets, flying 43 million people to 150 destinations each year.

Emirates, which operates the largest fleets of Boeing 777 jetliners and Airbus Group NV’s A380 superjumbo jets, has orders for another 260 long-range aircraft to help its expansion

into the US, Mr Clark said.

He dismissed critics who have suggested Emirates enjoys an unfair advantage.

“If there’s any subsidy, it’s because the government does the right thing,” Mr Clark said, pointing to new spending to expand Dubai’s airport infrastructure.

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