The Real Reason Delta is Pulling out of Dubai

Delta announced yesterday that they plan to terminate their Atlanta to Dubai service as of February 11th due to “overcapacity on US routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and heavily subsidized airlines“. Clearly, Delta was trying to pin all the blame on the Gulf carriers, even noting that aircraft would be “redeployed to other transatlantic markets where it can compete on a level playing field that’s not distorted by subsidized state-owned airlines.”

However, Air Transport World (ATW), says that’s not the actual reason.

In other words, Delta is blaming its pullout on the Gulf carriers on which it has waged war for many months over alleged subsidies and Open Skies compliance. But hang on a moment… how many flights do Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways operate to Atlanta? The shocking answer is: zero. So Delta has exclusivity on Atlanta-Dubai, yet apparently can’t make a go of the route. How so?

ATW notes that the likely reason is that Delta has no onward connections (on their own aircraft or any other partner) from Dubai…it’s essentially a dead end. Meanwhile, the Gulf carriers can connect passengers to the sub-Indian continent, a popular onward destination for many travelers flying to the region.

Check out the full ATW article here.


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