Sir Maurice Flanagan, executive vice chairman and one of the founders of Emirates Airline, has said he is determined to see the Dubai carrier secure further landing rights in Germany, regardless of opposition from domestic carrier Lufthansa.
“Lufthansa hates us with a passion,” Flanagan said of Europe’s second largest carrier.
Emirates has been looking to acquire further landings rights in Germany since 2004, and Flanagan said he was confident the Dubai airline would eventually secure the extra routes as there was sufficient market demand.
“[Lufthansa] can’t touch us in Germany as the government seems to quite like us. Berlin is asking for us; Stuttgard is asking for us and we’ll get them sooner or later,” Flanagan said.
The vice chairman is not the only Emirates executive to accuse the German carrier of trying to undermine it. Tim Clark, the Middle Eastern carrier’s president, told Bloomberg last year Lufthansa’s “mantra is to take the Gulf carriers down.”
“It has taken European carriers donkeys’ years to adapt their business models to the changing dynamics of global civil aviation,” he said. “They haven’t been able to align their traffic flows to what is going on, whereas we have.”
“It's no surprise European airlines have a slight "distaste" to Emirates' existence. Just two or more decades ago, many of Europe's carriers were state owned and had billions of dollars thrown at them at will - and now, many of the EU's airlines are saddled with crippling legacy costs, high cost structures, ageing fleets and inept management with an EU policy on aviation that is shameful,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“The irony is that European carriers have long since had what Emirates has, but they categorically failed to utilise it to their advantage. The fact is that Europe's airlines are in a quagmire - they are too slow to change and spend far too much time whining about more agile competitors,” he added.
Emirates is expected to issue its latest half year financial later this week. The full exclusive interview with Sir Maurice Flanagan will be published by Arabian Business on Sunday, May 13.