Emirates draws its strength from the open skies environment at its main operating base, Dubai International Airport, where it competes with over 120 other scheduled airlines.
Emirates fully supports the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s ‘Agenda for Freedom’ programme, which seeks to promote consensus among liberal-minded governments to reduce the barriers to cross-border business in the international aviation community.
After its initial October 2008 Istanbul conference, in which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated, IATA has been focused on drafting a Statement of Principles on liberalisation going forward and undertaking studies on the potential economic impact of greater commercial freedom in different national markets. This follows a similar study into the ‘Economic Impact of Air Service Liberalisation’ conducted on behalf of numerous industry organisations, such as Airports Council International, World Tourism and Travel Council and IATA, which came to the following conclusions:
- Liberalising just 320 of the current major restricted country pair routes could increase traffic by 63%. This could create 24.1 million additional jobs and generate an additional US$490 billion of GDP, equivalent to an economy the size of Brazil.
- Traffic growth subsequent to liberalisation of air services agreements between countries typically averaged between 12% and 35%, significantly greater than during years preceding liberalisation. In a number of situations, growth was at rates exceeding 50%, and in some cases reached almost 100% of the pre-liberalisation rates.
- The creation of the Single European Aviation Market in 1993 led to an average annual growth rate in traffic between 1995 and 2004 that was almost double the rate of growth in the years 1990 to 1994. This produced about 1.4 million new jobs.
Emirates’ core philosophy with regard to international aviation policy can be summarised by the following quote from the President of Emirates Airlines, Tim Clark:
“We know there has been clear evidence of a progression towards aero political multilateralism in the past 20 years. More and more countries are recognising that liberal air access has a multiplier effect on their economics and protection of their national carriers no longer stacks up in the cost-benefit equation or serves their national interest. Unwittingly, they have been subsidising their national carriers through a fortress mentality of aero political protection and the elimination of competition, and other primary sectors of their economies have suffered as a result.”