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Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Delta Air Lines Flies “Crap” Airplanes, Says Qatar Airways CEO; European Union Expected to Side With American Legacy Airlines on Open Skies Debate

“I  am delighted that Richard Anderson of Delta is not here. First of all, we don’t fly crap airplanes that are 35 years old. The Qatar Airways average fleet (age) is only fours years and one month.”

“And it’s a great irony to have the UAE from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that, given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula.”

I find it ridiculous that these quotes reported by multiple news sources are attributed to chief executive officers of major airlines: Akbar al-Baker of Qatar Airways and Richard Anderson of Delta Air Lines, respectively.

Richard Anderson, who is the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.
Richard Anderson, who is the chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Grow up, I say.

As much as I respect Richard Anderson, that was a rather embarrassing thing to say which should have never been said…

…and as for the airplanes flown by Delta Air Lines, I could not care any less about their age. Excuse me for being grammatically incorrect, Akbar al-Baker; but your remark was uncalled for as well. Have you taken a tour of the Technical Operations Center at the world headquarters of Delta Air Lines?

I have — multiple times. Their standards are strict and rigorous enough to put your mind at ease about the precautions they take in the name of safety; and their facility is world-class, in my opinion. Moreover, it is world renowned in that it services and repairs the aircraft of other airlines and the United States federal government in addition to the ones owned by Delta Air Lines. I will trust flying as a passenger on any airplane flown and operated by Delta Air Lines as I would on your airline, Akbar al-Baker — or the airline of anyone else, for that matter.

Now on to the latest news pertaining to the Open Skies debate, where the three legacy airlines of the United States allege through this report that the three airlines of the Persian Gulf — Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways — received greater than $42 billion in supposed illegal subsidies from their respective governments in order to grow their airlines: there is word that the European Union will support the airlines based in the United States in revisiting their agreements with the Gulf carriers as the result of a request supported by six member countries, including France and Germany.

This article written by Marisa Garcia of Skift starts off with the following paragraph: “The Partnership for Fair and Open Skies in the U.S., a coalition of the largest three U.S. airlines and four labor unions representing pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance workers has applauded the decision by Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc to push for new talks with Persian Gulf states over subsidies to their airlines during the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council meeting in Brussels on March 13.”

Perhaps I am naïve; but whatever “subsidies” Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways might be receiving will not last forever; as no entity has an unlimited amount of funds. I actually agree that if the airlines of the United States — which are generally currently enjoying record profits of billions of dollars per quarter — and Europe want to face off with those three airlines, then they need to improve the products and services they offer to match theirs.

I have recently flown as a passenger seated in the economy class cabin on both Etihad Airways and Delta Air Lines — both on transatlantic flights. In terms of product and certain aspects of service, I would have to give the nod to Etihad Airways — but it does not exactly blow the product offered by Delta Air Lines “completely out of the water.” In terms of customer service both on and off of the airplane, Delta Air Lines is the clear winner, in my opinion.

What I am attempting to say is that each airline should compete based on its strengths — whether they be service, price, product, frequent flier loyalty program or other factors. Stop involving governments and wasting the time and money of taxpayers to further agendas intended to artificially affect the commercial aviation market and just get down to the business of serving your passengers safely, comfortably and efficiently…

…and this goes for airlines on all sides of the Open Skies debate.

Note: This article is the last of a series — which includes this article pertaining to houses constructed of cow manure in Kenya and a bus powered by human waste — posted on March 19, 2015 pertaining to terms related to excrement, inspired as a nod to what was posted by members of FlyerTalk back in August of 2014; and it was all in good fun.

All photographs ©2014 and 2015 by Brian Cohen.

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