Emirates is continuing to increase capacity in the United States and Europe despite criticism from both continents.
The Dubai carrier today announced that it plans to upgrade its Dubai-Washington DC service with its flagship Airbus A380 from February 1.
It also said it would add a second daily service to Geneva from June 1, increasing its overall capacity to Switzerland by 26 per cent.
This comes amid Gulf carriers being accused by US airlines of dumping capacity in the US. Both United Airlines and Delta said at the back end of last year that they would end flights to Dubai from Washington and Atlanta respectively. United’s last flight is due to be on January 25.
Emirates president Tim Clark said the airline is filling the spare capacity from United’s exit from the route.
“Our service to Washington DC has been one of our most successful and profitable routes, with high demand across all cabin classes,” he said.
“Despite strong seat load factors, United has made the decision to withdraw from the route. The additional seats offered by our A380 will therefore restore capacity on the route, and ensure that American consumers and international travellers wishing to visit DC for business or leisure will continue to be served.”
The US airlines have accused Gulf carriers of benefiting from unfair subsidies – a claim the big regional carriers have rebutted.
“As they’ve added subsidised capacity, our Washington-Dubai route has become less profitable,” said United in a statement to the US media last month.
Last month the European Commission raised concerns over the way Gulf carriers operate in Europe and published a new aviation strategy.
It called for comprehensive agreements between the European Union and GCC states based on common rules and transparency.
This followed Lufthansa, Air France and KLM complaining to transport ministers earlier in the year about alleged Gulf subsidies.
Emirates said in a statement that the launch of its service to Washington in 2012 has helped contribute US$130 million in annual spending by visitors to the US, created 2,787 US jobs, added $113m to US employee earnings, and resulted in an annual total economic output of $326m to the Washington DC area”.
Emirates last week also pointed to its economic benefits to the US as it confirmed that it would add a second daily flight to Los Angeles from July 1.
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