14 DECEMBER 2015
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The row over alleged subsidies on Middle Eastern routes took another turn last week when United Airlines said it will stop flying between Washington and Dubai from late January. The decision meaning no US passenger airline will fly direct to the Gulf states.
United spoke out after the US Government awarded a contract for travel on the route in 2016 to JetBlue Airways and its codeshare partner Emirates.
Dubai-based Emirates will carry an estimated 15,000 US government employees, United said, adding, "We formally protested this decision but were ultimately unsuccessful."
United, along with Delta and American, have accused Emirates and two other Middle Eastern carriers of receiving subsidies from their governments that let them buy more aircraft and drive down ticket prices. The Gulf airlines have denied the allegations.
Delta plans to end all flights between Atlanta and Dubai in February. It blamed what it claims is "overcapacity" on routes to the region following the expansion of Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, which now serve a dozen US cities with around 200 flights a week.
The US government is considering whether to start talks with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to address the subsidy allegations. www.united.com
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