On a recent Delta flight, I was surprised when I opened up the Delta Sky magazine which was attacking the Gulf carriers (Emirates, Qatar, and Ethiad). The note from Delta read as follows:
The nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to take over international aviation by funneling billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines. U.S. airlines have already ceased flying to certain international destinations because they can’t compete with the unreasonably low prices of the gulf airlines. And for every route lost, 1,500 Americans lose their jobs. Left unaddressed, the U.S. aviation industry is at risk.
Open & Fair Skies agreements exist to prevent this, but they are not being enforced. Join the fight to protect fair trade and American jobs.
I think Delta is being a whiny drama queen here. Delta itself has accepted billions of dollars in government subsidies, which it was not complaining about when it was on the winning side.
Delta is also avoiding the elephant in the room here which is, compared to the Gulf carriers, its qualify of service sucks. In the latest ranking of worldwide airlines, Delta ranked #32, whereas Emirates was #4, Qatar was #1, and Ethiad was #7.
Sure, you may argue that Delta could have better service without these subsidies, but let’s look how Delta ranks significantly below dozens of other international airlines that don’t receive these kind of cash infusions, including EVA Air (#6), Thai Airlines (#11), Turkish Airlines (#11), Virgin Australia (#13), and even Norwegian (#28).
Rather than lodging a campaign against 3 airlines, Delta should work hard to take the market share from airlines without cash infusions that currently offer a much better in-flight experience.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!