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Emirates hopes to win more German routes

Germans not keen to offer more landing spots, according to reports.
NEWS, Aviation

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Emirates Airline said on Friday it remained "hopeful" of winning access to more airports in Germany despite reports that senior German officials are refusing to hold talks with the Dubai carrier.

German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Friday that the country's transport ministry was giving Emirates the cold shoulder by refusing to hold talks on granting airline rights to land in Berlin.

"There are no negotiations," daily Handelsblatt cited a German government source as saying.

But an Emirates spokesperson told Arabian Business said the airline was still "hopeful" of winning German government support and was "looking forward to further dialogue".

"Since 2004, Emirates has been seeking access to Berlin and Stuttgart because of market demand and the strong business, trade and government support of those cities and regions. For our four existing points in Germany we have an open agreement," a statement from Emirates read.

"We are hopeful that our long-standing request will receive German government support. We continue on-going discussions with the relevant officials on this matter, and look forward to further dialogue. The economic case for these flights has never been stronger," it added.

Emirates has been aggressively expanding its route network, provoking fears that Gulf-based superjumbos will draw traffic from European carriers' hubs.

It has been pushing to get landing rights in Germany's capital as well as in Stuttgart, in addition to its existing German destinations Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Munich and Hamburg.

In January, it was reported that German flagship carrier Lufthansa was lobbying its government to stop Emirates gaining additional landing rights in Germany.

At the time, Emirates Airline's president Tim Clark said Cologne-based Lufthansa was trying "to take the Gulf carriers down", adding that he hoped the German government would “see sense” over issuing landing rights.

Last year, the UAE failed to gain greater access for Emirates and Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways in Canada, leading to tension between the two countries.

Handelsblatt cited industry sources as saying Emirates plans to fly to Munich with an A380 superjumbo from 2012 to increase passenger capacity in and out of Germany.

By Andy Sambidge, www.arabianbusiness.com

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