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CAPA TV | September 29, 2020

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The Gulf carriers: Good for the US airline industry as well as for consumers?

  • On May 4, 2015

The Gulf airlines’ unique long haul-to long haul model and their global reach have spelled major change for established airlines in Europe and Asia especially. Some major European airline groups – most notably Lufthansa – have stridently opposed expansion of the Gulf airlines. One, IAG has however grown close to Qatar Airways, now a member of the oneworld alliance and owner of 10% of IAG. Asian airlines, more accustomed to competition for sixth freedom traffic, have fought back.

In the US, whatever the eventual regulatory outcome as the three major airlines seek government protection, the Gulf airlines have already reset the bar for international travel expectations. Turkish Airlines too, although just off the ideal geographic axis, is almost a Gulf carrier – but only in being a highly successful global hub carrier.
North American airlines are less threatened, because of its geography, but even so strident industry voices are raised against allowing them greater access, despite the consumer benefits.

These voices have remarkably included calls from the CEO of the world’s largest airlines for the US to reverse the open skies policy that the US has disseminated across the world over the past three decades.
Canada has meanwhile reverted to use of 70-year old bilateral trade restrictions to limit the Gulf airlines’ access, while Latin America is gradually welcoming more services.

  • How real are the threats offered by the Gulf airlines to incumbent airlines?
  • What is the nature of opposition to the new wave airlines?
  • What are the implications for consumers, airports and other providers as the Gulf airlines enter the Americas?
  • Are there partnership opportunities with the Gulf airlines?

Moderator: Pillsbury Law, Partner, Kenneth Quinn


  • American Airlines, Senior VP Government Affairs, Will Ris
  • Americans for Fair Skies, President, Lee Moak
  • Delta Air Lines, Executive VP & Chief Legal Officer, Ben Hirst
  • Etihad, General Counsel & Company Secretary, Jim Callaghan
  • FedEx Express, Senior VP & General Counsel, Rush O’Keefe
  • US Travel Association, President & CEO, Roger Dow
  • WTTC, President & CEO, David Scowsill

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