AirAsia X stated it selected Abu Dhabi as its 'virtual' hub in the Middle East and credited its decision to launch services to the destination sooner than expected to Abu Dhabi Airports Company's (ADAC) persistence and willingness to work with the carrier to develop new markets (Emirates Business 24/7, 28-Aug-09). The carrier has postponed the launch of services to Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai as a result.
AirAsia X selected Abu Dhabi as hub due to ADAC's persistence
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After the White Paper. Time for the US major airlines and Gulf carriers to kiss and make up
Although US global network airlines American and Delta have recently revived rhetoric in the Big 3 versus the Gulf 3 imbroglio that remained a mainstay in industry discourse throughout 2015, the efforts by American, Delta and United to stymie growth by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar can be deemed anything but a success. More than anything their march against the Gulf airlines has raised serious questions about the future of liberalisation in the global airline industry, and, arguably, damaged the US’ stature as the global leader in trumpeting open skies pacts.
By-products of the Big 3’s subsidy claims include a splintering among US airlines as jetBlue, Hawaiian and others united to form a fierce opposition in the subsidy argument, claiming that the efforts by the Big 3 would jeopardise the more than 100 open skies agreements that the US has forged worldwide. Those Big 3 airlines responded with the counterargument that the immunised joint ventures created by American, Delta and United with their alliance partners had resulted in higher fares and less consumer choice, and they requested the US government to review the passenger benefits of those tie-ups. As the two opposing sides squared off, Delta chose to leave the major US airline lobbying group 'Airlines For America'; almost consequently, the application by Norwegian Air Shuttle to launch low cost trans-Atlantic flights endured a years-long limbo, a delay driven in parallel with the Gulf debate.
The US government is making no promises over when it will render a decision to hold talks with the UAE and Qatar on their specific open skies policies, and the upcoming presidential election adds a huge element of uncertainty to the process. But a recent decision to grant Norwegian approval for its new service suggests that the government may avoid slipping into an outdated protectionist mindset.
Iran CAPA Aviation Summit – hope turns to frustration, but optimism remains as growth abounds
When CAPA – Centre for Aviation held its first conference in Iran at the end of Jan-2016 the atmosphere was primarily one of optimism. Immediately preceding the conference the expectation was that Iran and the West would move to rapidly reverse decades of estrangement. The first round of sanctions against Iran had come down – in line with the historic 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the ‘5+1’ powers – and major airlines and aircraft manufacturers were coming to the table.
While it was acknowledged that progress on major deals was not going to happen overnight, the hope was that as layers of sanctions came down, Iran would be embraced by the rest of the world. In return, Iran was expected to open itself up progressively to foreign trade and investment, and to travel.
The road ahead was perceived to be one that was both a very different, and far easier, one than the one Iran had already travelled. Aviation in particular was a sector that was expected to shine and lead the way for a new era for the country.