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British Airways warns of 'significant' threat from Middle East airlines

16-Sep-2010 11:31 AM

British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has again warned of the threat from Middle East carriers, stating Europe has failed to recognise the “significant threat” these carriers pose (Financial Times, 15-Sep-2010). In a speech at the European Aviation Club, Mr Walsh stated: “We have been very slow in the UK and in Europe to recognise the new competitive threat. We should as Europe be concerned about what’s happening here.” He also criticised the so-called home country rule between Europe and the US that prohibits countries where Boeing and Airbus aircraft are manufactured from providing export credit agency guarantees to local airlines, stating it has meant that Europe has been “funding the expansion of Emirates” through European export credit financing available to the Middle Eastern carriers. He continued: "These are our competitors. We’re financing our competitors by providing them with cheap access to capital. There’s something not right there. I do not take this threat lightly. I think this is a very significant threat."