Just to Show You How Complicated the World Is, British Airways and Iberia Pull Out of European Airline Lobbying Group

British Airways and Iberia have pulled out of the European airline trade association over differences regarding complaints about Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar. (HT: EXP)

British Airways and Iberia (along with Finnair) are in a joint business venture on routes across the Atlantic with American Airlines.

American, along with Delta and United, is a prime driver of complaints against the 3 largest Gulf carriers on this side of the Atlantic.

American, British Airways, and Iberia are members of the oneworld alliance with Qatar, and Qatar has a 9.99% ownership stake in the corporate parent of BA and Iberia. Qatar came into the oneworld alliance with assistance from BA after oneworld carrier Qantas severed its joint venture with BA on the London-Sydney route to go outside the alliance and form a partnership with Emirates, one of the other 3 Gulf carriers that’s the focus of complaints.

Meanwhile Etihad, one of the other Gulf carriers involved in the spat, continues to spend its cash to bail out European airlines — most recently pouring money into perpetual loser Alitalia and keeping that carrier afloat, after having previously become the sugar daddy for oneworld airline airberlin. (Air France, which is currently taking aim at the Gulf carriers, was a previous victim of Alitalia investment.)

And, as I mentioned earlier, Emirates has just placed a $9 billion order for aircraft engines from Rolls Royce to fit onto their Airbus A380s (Emirates is the largest operator of that aircraft type, having ordered about half the planes on the Airbus order book for the superjumbo — and presumably spelling the difference between Europe having to bail out the aircraft manufacturer anot not).

What exactly is a ‘European’ business and a non-European one in this context… when Turkey is part of Europe but the UAE is not, though here the UAE carriers are major owners of airlines deemed European and major operators of European aircraft with European engines, and are alliance partners with European airlines.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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