Airline relationships: Emirates and United evolve from old foes to fast friends

Premium Analysis

The fanfare surrounding a new pact between United Airlines and Emirates Airline is understandable.

Seven years ago United, along with American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, launched a campaign to convince the US government that Emirates, along with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, had received USD42 billion in illegal subsidies.

Eventually, both the governments and the airlines involved in the dispute reached agreements that appeased all the parties.

But relations between the three largest US global airlines and the major Gulf carriers remained frigid - until the COVID-19 pandemic forced some of those operators to put their grudges aside.

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