Dog fight

Euro Airlines Fire Shot at Gulf Rivals

Emirates plane getty
All aboard: Gulf airlines are on a shopping spree in Europe.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Persian Gulf airlines are taking business from traditional European carriers and investing in small airlines to secure access to lucrative European routes, but possibly violating E.U. in doing so.

  • Facts


    • Lufthansa and Air France-KLM are two of Europe’s largest airlines, warning of Gulf carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways
    • Etihad holds 29 percent of shares in Germany’s second largest airline, Air Berlin.
    • Qatar Airways just announced its plan to take over 10 percent of shares in IAG, the parent group of British Airways and Iberia.
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Two of Europe’s largest airlines, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM, have written a joint letter to the European Commission asking it to take steps against rivals based in the Persian Gulf region, which have increasingly been eating away at their business.

According to the letter, sent to transport commissioner Violeta Bulc, the commission must “be provided with a proposal as quickly as possible to ensure that fair competition is upheld more effectively and efficiently.”

Handelsblatt has learned that the letter was sent to the E.U.’s executive arm shortly before Christmas, and that it contains very specific requests.

The signatories, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr and Air France-KLM Chairman Alexandre de Juniac, as well as the heads of their subsidies, asked the commission to examine whether Gulf airlines investing in European carriers are complying with E.U. regulation 1008/2008.

The request follows a spending spree by Gulf-based carriers such as Etihad and Qatar Airways to obtain shares in European airlines and secure access to lucrative routes.

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