Questions That Are Rarely Asked in Airline Competition

The EU has cleared the transatlantic joint venture between Air France-KLM, Alitalia, and Delta.

So Delta will be profit sharing across the Atlantic with Alitalia, which is 49% owned by Etihad and for all intents and purposes now an arm of the Gulf carrier.

Delta has taken a strong stand against Etihad (along with Emirates and Qatar) as being subsidized by its government and asking the US government to protect it from competition.

Delta has a problem with US expansion by the Gulf carriers, and fears their flying between the US and Europe especially.

But they have no problem with Etihad’s proxy, Alitalia, flying between the US and Europe — in fact they’ll share passengers and profits on the routes where it does.

Just to show you how complicated the world is, why is it ok for Alitalia to take Etihad’s cash and fly across the Atlantic, but not ok for Etihad to do so?

It’s inconsistencies like this that lead aviation consultant Andrew Charlton to write,

In just two months the legacy carriers have successfully highlighted their lack of competitive product, their xenophobia and their subjective definition of ‘fair’ – as in ‘unfair competition’. It is best when using that phrase to do your best spoilt 10 year old child impersonation.

See also 5 Questions That Are Rarely Asked About Air Travel

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, 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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  1. Who want to fly Delta,American or United???i ve tried all 3 and frankly i dont want to do it again,from their food,to lounge,to plane they cant compete with ME3 simple as that none of the 3 americans have A380.

  2. We need more competition in the air and politicians that will look after the people that elect them and not prostitute themselves to the highest corporate donor . Can we write to Congress to allow international airlines to fly domestic routes?

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