United Accepts Reality, Partners with Emirates, and Leaves Delta As Last Man Standing

Emirates, United

It had been known for weeks, but last Wednesday, United and Emirates officially announced that they would become partners. This is a smart move, and it’s one that will benefit both sides. The only losers are likely Delta and to a lesser extent, JetBlue. But it would appear that the game of musical chairs is now largely over and most of the airlines that care have found their dance partners.

The reason this partnership is making such news is, of course, because United — along with Delta and American — have spent years railing against the so-called ME3 (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar) for being hugely subsidized and creating a situation with unfair competition.

When that argument rolled out back in 2015, I was very wishy washy on the issue. Sure, these carriers were hugely subsidized, but if that’s what their home countries want to do in order to benefit the country at large, well, fine. My only firm objection was to the idea of these airlines being subsidized to fly fifth freedom routes, like Emirates flying Newark – Athens – Dubai or JFK – Milan – Dubai. But those have remained few and far between and are effectively a non-issue at this point.

In this fight, it seemed like there were varying degrees of commitment. Delta was very clearly spear-heading this effort, and American and United seemed more content to just come along for the ride. If Delta wanted to do something that would benefit the competitive position of American and United, well, they wouldn’t have a problem signing their names to it. That resulted in existing partnerships being scaled back, removing codeshares and the like. But it wasn’t going to stay that way for long once the economics became clear.

Soon enough, beliefs changed. Airlines slowly but surely started to accept the fact that these airlines weren’t going anywhere, and in fact, they could be a real asset. Nobody figured this out sooner than Willie Walsh, who sold a stake in IAG (parent of BA, Iberia, and others) to Qatar Airways in 2015 and started a deep partnership right about the time when the US carriers were ramping up their fight. Qatar had already joined oneworld in 2013 and saw the value of pumping partner traffic to help prop up its overbuilt network. IAG looked at that network and saw opportunity.

It seemed obvious that American would be the first to fall in the US thanks to its close ties with IAG and its membership in oneworld. In 2020, American and Qatar announced a “strategic partnership” that would ramp up codesharing and included the launch of a flight from JFK to Doha operated by American. This created an incredible number of options to take travelers beyond Doha into Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia… places where American had a limited or non-existent presence previously.

Looking at ARC/BSP data in Cirium, American and Qatar sent about 500 people connecting between the airlines per day this past June. This is still a fairly young partnership and there is no joint venture. There is room to grow.

Sitting on the sidelines, United had to start feeling like this was a futile fight. It already had a relationship with Turkish as a fellow Star Alliance member. When fellow partner Air Canada started signing up deals with Etihad and Emirates, United must have felt empowered to break ranks with its partner Lufthansa Group which has a remarkable disdain for the ME3, the complete opposite of IAG.

Now, United has embraced Emirates, the biggest fish in the ME3 pond. This feels a lot like American’s relationship with Qatar to start. United will begin flying Newark to Dubai with a 276-seat 777-200ER in order to help feed connections beyond. South Asia has to be the biggest target, but there are others as well that will benefit from this level of connectivity.

Emirates will begin pouring traffic into United primarily at Chicago/O’Hare, San Francisco, and Washington/Dulles. Previously, Emirates had relied on Alaska in Seattle and JetBlue mostly in Boston and New York to provide that feed. Emirates had already lost Alaska when that airline joined oneworld and tied up more closely with Qatar. Now, with what I assume was a United requirement, Emirates will break up with JetBlue.

Losing Emirates isn’t great for JetBlue, but it’s not devastating either. It can pick up some traffic through a growing partnership with Etihad, but in the end it’s probably not overly significant for the airline.

On the other hand, the gain for Emirates is enormous because it didn’t even have an interline agreement with United for basic cooperation before. Now it will have that not only in those three primary hubs where there will be codesharing but also anywhere else in the system where there could be connecting opportunities. This gives Emirates much better access to the US market.

This leaves Delta as the last man standing. Even if it has a change of heart and decides it wants to partner with a Middle East carrier, who will it be? It most certainly won’t be Qatar or Emirates. I suppose it could potentially woo Etihad away from its limited agreement with American and the JetBlue pact, but Etihad is a shadow of its former self.

In March 2017, Etihad had over 2 million seats scheduled to 89 destinations. Next March it currently sits at 1.25 million seats to 63 destinations. If you’re curious to compare, Emirates is at 5.37 million to 132 destinations next March while Qatar sits at 3.68 million to 155 destinations. There really is no comparison. And even more pointedly, take a look at India which is a key part of this deal.

ME3 India Departing Seats and Origin Airports – March 2023

Data via Cirium, circles are number of origins, columns are number of seats

Etihad just can’t provide the same kind of benefit to a US airline that the others can. On top of that, Etihad is the least viable of all the airlines and the most in need of the subsidy that Delta has so publicly opposed.

Maybe Delta can instead wait for the launch of Saudi mega-carrier RIA which will, if it launches, require subsidies presumably beyond anything we’ve seen yet since it will serve a city that doesn’t even exist yet. Or maybe Delta will stubbornly stick to its position and try to find other ways to serve the places it can’t serve well on its own.

Regardless of what Delta does, this is a good move for United and it’s a good move for Emirates. It was only a matter of time until these pieces started falling into place.

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53 comments on “United Accepts Reality, Partners with Emirates, and Leaves Delta As Last Man Standing

  1. If you are going to partner with two carriers for access to the farthest reaches from the U.S., Qantas and Emirates check those boxes. It will be interesting to see what Delta does, if anything. Delta much prefers using others’ metal….and have consistently lost billions in investments doing so….so their response will be interesting. For United, their challenge is the domestic market. They have to be careful to not become another PanAm.

    1. Pan Am LITERALLY had NO domestic network and had to rely 100% on feed from other US carriers until deregulation and to a large degree for a long time after.. United has a substantial domestic network and feeds its hubs quite well. Meaningless comparison.

      1. Jason…..Your statement is factually inaccurate. In 1980, Pan Am purchased National Airlines, which at the time had a significant eastern domestic network. So Clipper certainly had some feed via its acquisition of National, at both JFK and MIA. Deregulation occurred in 1978 and PanAm knew they desperately needed to build some domestic share, so they grabbed National quite quickly. They did not wait years after Deregulation, as your post implies.
        I think United did a wise thing in purchasing Continental. It gave them a much more robust domestic feed, by adding EWR and IAH. Prior, United had IAD, ORD, DEN, and SFO, with ORD and DEN being the domestic backbone. Having said that, I also believe the current upper Management team at United has prioritized reinforcing the domestic side of the house. They see what Southwest has done in DEN. They see Southwest gaining a toe-hold at ORD. They have not overlooked Southwest’s return to IAH on a much more robust schedule than their previous 5 flights a day to DAL. Southwest is nibbling around United’s domestic business, like a dentist poking for cavities. If United keeps losing share in its biggest domestic/international feeder hubs, this will adversely impact their ability to feed their international flights over time. Are they in trouble today? Absolutely not. They quietly surpassed 200 widebodies DURING the pandemic. Quite a feat in itself. But they must still protect their domestic business. They cannot allow it to be hollowed-out by determined competition.
        While on the topic of United vs Southwest, someone will likely say: “United ran Southwest out of EWR.” And yes, Southwest departed Newark. However, if we read what Gary Kelly said about EWR at the time, it was words to the effect of “We had 24 hours to decide if we wanted to give EWR a try. So we went for it, which allowed United to finally gain approval for the Continental buy.” So, in Southwest’s eyes, EWR was an experiment, not a true market entry. Southwest studies markets for YEARS before they decide to go in, not 24 hours. Obviously, EWR was either a financial or operational failure (or both) for Southwest. But they did not depart with their tail between their legs. They gained a lot of valuable information on aircraft routings and other operational data and most likely harvested data on credit card “take” rates, as well.
        Jason, I always enjoy your posts. Thank you for responding.

        1. I know about National. But didnt go there. It was okay, but anything you read about it says it really wasnt a good match and didnt provide the comprehensive feed Pan Am needed at New York or LA to be successful. And by the time Pan Am bought national it was too late – the majority of its life it had lived without domestic, and was already marching slowly towards its demise by the time it bought National.

          Continental helped United but it didnt do anything to feed Chicago, Washington or Denver. Or San Francisco. Those were thriving, busy domestic hubs that had tons of flights to feed the international flights.

        2. Sorry to be the one to tell you, but United didn’t purchase Continental; they merged, with Continental as more fiscally sound.

          1. Yeah I worked there when it happened. I got a little loose with my language. The CO people were in way over their heads.

          2. United did buy Continental, but it was called a “merger of equals” so there would be no hurt feelings. The United CEO had to go because he had convinced a bankruptcy judge to default on the United employee pensions and the employees would no longer trust him. Before the merger was completed, United came out of bankruptcy and became the leader in on time performance for several months. Employees received frequent bonus checks for this performance until the completed merger and a Continental CEO took over and decided to use the convoluted SHARES check in computer program and no more bonus checks for employees and no more on time performance. Within a year, all United Vice Presidents were fired and replaced with Continental goons. For many years after this I frequently heard “ United ruined Continental” by ignorant people not knowing that United Airlines is only United in name and run by Continental management……almost into the ground. Have a very pleasant day.

    2. “For United, their challenge is the domestic market. They have to be careful to not become another PanAm.”


      What does that mean. Wasn’t PanAm a US carrier that more or less flew overseas & had little if any domestic operations? That isn’t what United is at all.

      1. Sean….Great reply, as usual. My response to Jason above outlines my concerns about United’s domestic future. You are correct: United has a domestic network so far superior to PanAm’s that they are not even comparable. However, United’s Senior Management sees the existential threat to its entire network via loss of share in its major domestic hubs. They must fight to protect DEN and ORD. IAH is a little bit different as Southwest’s Houston international presence is at HOU. So that tells us their entry into IAH is strictly about stealing domestic share. This is “bleed” that can become concerning to United over time. For some reason(s), Southwest has purposefully targeted United in the past few years. Contrast that to Southwest’s competing with Delta. Southwest has fewer flights in SLC than they did 10 years ago. Same can be said for ATL (although for a different reason). So Southwest obviously sees some softness in United, and United Leadership is aware of it. At any rate, these new agreements with Qantas and Emirates should cause United to bolster their domestic flying, adding even more international revenue to their bottom line by offering Emirates’ passengers more U.S. cities to connect to. And, of course, they will be more than happy to relieve Delta and American of some of their international business if they can.

        1. Masters,

          Thanks for the response, but my first reply to you posted after Jason’s & it distorted the whole thread.

          When did QF switch from one world to star?

          1. Sean….Great catch. I should have written that Virgin Australia and Emirates make great partners for United, not Qantas. You are correct. However, since Qantas and Emirates have a deep existing relationship, I wonder if Emirates will cajole Qantas into ditching AA for UA? That would allow United to let Virgin Australia go back to Delta. Of course, Delta may be wooing Qantas (like they did LATAM) away from AA this very minute. As it stands currently, Delta has Korean, which is substantial, and its own metal. But United’s move with Emirates is certainly a blow to Delta.

        2. Out of the big US3, UA has the weakest domestic hub system bar none:

          EWR: Not as desirable as JFK/LGA (for whatever reason??) and prone to massive delays
          IAD: IAD is ok at best, with UA struggling to make it anything more than an international hub; IAD is no ATL or CLT
          ORD: They’re strong there, but so is AA and WN across town.
          IAH: Similar to IAD, not a great domestic hub; IAH is no DFW or ATL
          DEN: Similar to ORD, with strong competing hub operations from WN and F9 (to a lesser extent)
          SFO: Similar to what MIA is to American, SFO needs its international back to make it work; great hub when times are good
          LAX: Like everyone else, LAX is one of those markets you have to maintain just because. Nobody is doing great there.

          1. Right, because PHL, CLT and MIA are a star-studded crew. DFW, sure.

            Arguably, I’d say UA has the better domestic hub system. DEN is far better than MSP or SLC or even DTW. DEN’s catchment area is like 7 states wide with 95% market share – and that area is growing rapidly.

            1. Yes, but UA hubs are in hyper-competitive markets for the most part. I don’t think UA has an ATL or DFW to call their own.

        3. I think Scott Kirby acknowledged that domestic, while strong, is the area to beef up. There are 500 mainline planes to be delivered over the next few years. There will be a new plane, on average, every three days in 2023. The regional flying will decrease dramatically and mainline flying will increase significantly.

          90 gates will soon be online in DEN, most of them capable of handling mainline planes, many more than what WN will have.

          UA’s domestic issues will soon be a thing of the past. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them overtake AA in size.

    3. Pan Am had no domestic network to speak of, other than connecting JFK with several spokes in order to try and feed 747s and A310s flying across the Atlantic. The absence of a meaningful, profitable, and robust domestic network was partly responsible for Pan Am’s undoing. United is far from that, and comparing the two is absurd. UA has, to be sure, beefed up its domestic capacity in recent years, but it has strong domestic hubs in place in DEN, IAH, ORD, EWR, IAD, SFO, and LAX. It does have holes here and there in its network, but nothing like what Pan Am had.

      1. Shoeguy…..Completely agree with you that PanAm’s lack of nationwide network hurt them badly in the deregulated market. But, at that time, no carrier had the national connectivity that we see today. Two major rounds of industry consolidation over the last 40 years have created the “too big to fail” Big 3. But I will also say that PanAm’s route network on the east coast after the National purchase was larger than most remember. Of course, PanAm seemed to treat National more as a vanquished rival than a crucial and necessary piece of their puzzle. Also, PanAm had PanAm Express running ATRs in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, carrying nearly exclusive trans-Atlantic travellers. So I think Pan Am’s post-deregulation east coast network was larger than we give credit for in hindsight. Nevertheless, they bungled whatever network they either bought or built.
        The point I was trying to make earlier is that United cannot allow other carriers to gain too much market share in their domestic hubs. First, it syphons business away. Second, it can lower yields for the incumbent carrier. If that continues and increases, eventually a tipping point will be reached and the incumbent carrier is forced to lose money to remain relevant in a market that they once profitably dominated or else capitulate the market. These are two scenarios United must avoid, because if their domestic hub(s) become unprofitable, then they will need to focus on gaining more local traffic in their international gateway hubs (SFO, IAD, EWR). To accomplish that, they could be forced to lower fares, thereby eroding yield on their all-important international flying. And THAT is when the comparison to PanAm could become more relevant.
        When we look back on this in 20 years, I think the most surprising thing will be that United NEVER did one thing to try to stop Southwest in Denver. When Southwest announced IAD-DEN-SFO and ORD-DEN-SFO and IAH-DEN, United did not respond. When one airline starts connected another’s major hubs, there is usually a serious reply, either in added capacity, reduced fares, or both. United did nothing. They just let Southwest walk right in. Contrast that to when Western Pacific started COS-DEN service and United put DC-10s on the route for $29 a seat!
        I always enjoy your posts, as well, Shoeguy.

  2. What does this sentence you wrote mean? Losing JetBlue isn’t great for JetBlue, but it’s not devastating either

    Also, you say above that Emirates will start pouring traffic into United at Dulles. NOt really. In this announcement, the only markets where Emirates will code on UA flights are, for now, at Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston. The press release SPECIFICALLY said that Dulles will have an interline agreement, and will United flights from Dulles will not carry the EK code. So there probably will be some connectivity I’d imagine, but not in the way that you suggest. At least for now. You should probably be more detailed when you write these and report.

    1. Probably has to do with the fly American rule for government travel. Weren’t alot of them using the B6 codeshare flight number yet booking EK in J class for their travels out of IAD, which caught some flack a few years ago? UA even called this little loophole out when they were flying IAD-DXB back in the day.

  3. Cranky brought up Turkish as an existing UA partner. Specific question here, but does anyone know why Turkish has not leveraged its Star Alliance feed and Istanbul hub to make more inroads into India? It seems that Turkish has an opportunity to funnel a ton of US-India traffic through IST, especially with its strong US network. But its flights into India are limited with poor timings for US travelers.

    Case in point: this summer, we flew BOM-IST-EWR. The BOM flight departed at 6am (NOT fun having to get to the airport at 3am haha) and then we had an 8 hour layover in IST. The combo of the super early BOM departure with an 8 hour layover was something we don’t want to do again.

    On the bright side, really enjoyed flying on Turkish and the new IST airport is great!

    1. Turkish is restricted by the Turkey-India bilateral. The Turkish government and Indian government don’t have great relations for a variety of reasons, so it’s unlikely Turkey will get any more access to the India market in the near term.

  4. @Brett, I think there is a typo here: “Data via Cirium, circles are number of origins, columns are number of dests”

    I’m guessing you mean number of passengers rather than number of destinations?

    1. Yeah, this is what happens when I try to crank out a post when my entire weekend is filled with Dorkfest. Sorry for the mistakes on this one.

  5. Delta doesn’t care at all about subsidies…as long as they benefit Delta. Because let’s never let them forget how many billions in public funds they took during the pandemic, only to immediately turn around and work their hardest to find ways of stretching the rules and using loopholes to use the money in ways it wasn’t intended. And no, just because they all they took the money and did the same shady things, it doesn’t make it okay for Delta [Tim]…

    1. They pay back their bail out money. Would be terrible for economy to have major airlines cease operations. Again, bail out money has been paid back in full by airlines that have taken it in the past. Delta is not alone in this.

  6. Random question that might become more relevant with this deal and others like it. I was flying ATL-HAN (Hanoi) about 10 years ago using SkyTeam (Delta + Korean). The Delta flight was delayed which was gonna cost me the connection in Seoul and I’d lose a whole day of the trip. So I asked about Air France through Paris instead the Delta rep told me that essentially I couldn’t change which ocean I flew over – they couldn’t take a ticket that had me flying halfway around the world to the west and change it to flying east. It was awhile ago so my memory is a little spotty – the issue may have also been that they wouldn’t let me have a return over a different ocean (i.e. if you leave the US flying east over the Atlantic, you have to return to it from the east). Either way, according to her, direction of travel mattered, which was very surprising to me.

    I’ve always wondered if that was true and/or if the agent just didn’t want to call Air France that day… I wouldn’t blame them. Might happen more and more as there are alliances that are essentially hubbed at half-way points around the globe.

    1. It could have been the fare rules. Some fares are Trans Pacific, some are Trans Atlantic (or were when I was familiar with tariff)

    2. Sam – If it’s a reaccommodation due to a cancellation, they should be able to do it. It sounds like someone just didn’t want to work hard enough to get a waiver to override. I’m sure it’s not allowed per the fare rules, but that shouldn’t be an issue when it comes to getting you home. It’s all about internal policies at that point.

        1. Fair enough, but where does it end? Does my wife have to cover her head and face when connecting at RYD? Delta partnering with Saudia seems like quite the disconnect.

      1. …and who wants to fly an airline that is the flag carrier for a country that has questionable human-rights records, not-to-mention alleged connection to 9/11. I don’t think Saudia can compare to the ME3 and Delta knows that.

        1. I never understood having Aeroflop in their alliance either. With Ukraine, that’s stopped, but to me, that always knocked SkyTeam down a notch.

          1. Probably the same reason OW had S7. However, my understanding is that Aeroflot had turned around and was becoming a top tier international airline, before the Ukraine invasion. Now, on the heels of ordering 300 quality-built Russian planes, I would expect them to return to their old Aeroflop days.

  7. DL’s management is over-smart and are seeing AA and UA begin to lap them network wise, with a number of strategic moves (UA with Virgin Australia, now Emirates, AA getting closer to QR to name a few). The disparity in c-suite skills and adaptability has narrowed across the US3 and there is plenty of evidence to suggest DL’s profile has changed considerably, from the industry’s bell weather to a still well run, but in need of a tune up strategy. It is weak in Asia, weak in Oceania, not ideally positioned in Latin America yet, even with LATAM, and a third wheel at LHR, well behind AA/BA and a stand alone UA, even with VS to tap into. The pressure will be on to DL to juice it up a bit.

  8. Incorrect on your comments on JetBlue not being hurt
    United left Dubai because of the EK – JetBlue code share where United States government employees could fly on EK even though prohibited ad a foreign carrier but able to do using the JetBlue codeshare so shown as a USA carrier so United became out of luck – the amount of USA government travel is huge in this part of the world

  9. First, Emirates got the better “half” of this deal by gaining access to UA’s large domestic network – far larger than either AS or B6 could provide. DOT data shows that the passengers that B6 connected to EK were low fare passengers and it is very likely that a better US connecting network will improve the value of those connections.
    Second, UA doesn’t have a joint venture with EK and neither does AA with QR. Both AA and UA have joint ventures that cover most of the world which EK serves via Star and oneworld European JV partners. DL has 3 European JV partners that serve regions beyond DL’s network and ITA, in which DL and AF/KL are in negotations for a larger stake is starting service to India which is clearly the biggest market that EK serves and which a Middle East partnership can provide.
    Third, Delta has more than 3 dozen A330-900s and A350s due for delivery in the next few years which will give Delta not only the most fuel efficient fleet among the US airlines but also considerably more very to ultra long haul capacity than DL has ever had. Those aircraft won’t be used as 767 replacements which means DL has an enormous amount of international growth capacity coming online. Given that Delta has had the most profitable international network among the big 3 even up to this point, the chances are very high that it will be adding alot more of its own new routes.

    1. There’s Tim… I knew you couldn’t stay away. And you even brought up your usual nonsense about Delta having the most fuel efficient fleet with a bunch of ancient 767s (based on the seat configuration, not the plane itself or even the overall fleet). You, like no other, have an ability to distort the facts and I always appreciate the laugh.
      It’s always fun reading your distortion of the international network profitability. Read a book on accounting. It probably won’t make any sense to you, but read it anyway.

      1. Julie,
        Delta and United have very similar sized fleets of 767s.
        And do you know that the fuel burn for the 787-8 is within a single digit percent of the wingletted 767-300ER?
        American and United have large fleets of 777s which are far less fuel efficient than other models because they are heavy. The A330-300 seats about the same number of passengers for DL as AA and UA’s 777-200ERs and yet the 333 burns 15% less fuel.
        Airlines report their fuel burn by fleet type to the DOT.
        And, unless AA takes delivery of all of its 787s on order and replaces its 777-200ERs, Delta will take delivery of more new generation widebodies in the next 4 years than American or United combined.
        Delta’s higher fuel efficiency combined with its lower price per fuel is part of the reason for Delta’s higher earnings on its international route system.
        Airlines will be reporting their 3rd quarter financial results in a couple weeks. Please make sure you track fuel price per gallon and the amount of gallons burned to generate the amount of revenue and ASMs each airline reports.
        oh, and the airlines themselves report the data about their profitability to the DOT and it all sums up to what they report on their quarterly and annual financial statements. If one international network is more profitable than you think, it means something is less profitable. The pie is the same size no matter how you cut the slices.

        1. Configuration of a plane matters, tim, but planes still have their own independent fuel efficiencies. Stop trying to distort facts with your strange reality. If you truly want to compare efficiencies of a plane, at best, then you’d look at absolute max capacity of a plane and compare casm there. But even then with a 763 vs 788 comparison you’d be completely ignoring the increased range of the 788 and the routes it can do that the 763 cannot.

          Of course any plane is going to look better in a delta configuration on a casm basis because Delta, traditionally, goes after density rather than premium configuration.
          Your ability to distort facts to your delta-based view is always amusing, but it’s just that — distortion and fake.

          1. Julie,
            Nobody is making up or distorting any data. Aircraft configuration for each carrier is known and used to calculate the number of seat miles on a system basis and the average fuel cost per seat on an individual aircraft or flight basis. Delta pays less for jet fuel both because of its refinery which reduces its cost/gallon and because of its better efficiency for every gallon of jet fuel that is burned.

            For the 2nd quarter of 2022:
            American generated $12.5 billion in passenger and cargo revenue and $13.4 billion in total revenue and spent $4 billion on 997 million gallons of jet fuel at $4.03/gallon to generate 66 billion available seat miles and posted $476 million of net income.
            Delta generated $11.3 billion in passenger and cargo revenue and $13.8 billion in total revenue and spent $3.2 billion on 863 million gallons of jet fuel at $3.74/gallon to generate 59 billion available seat miles and posted $735 million of net income.
            United generated $11.4 billion in passenger and cargo revenue and $12.1 billion in total revenue and spent $3.8 billion on 912 million gallons of jet fuel at $4.18/gallon to generate 62 billion available seat miles posted $329 million of net income.
            Delta paid 29 cents less per gallon than American and spent $800 million less on fuel while Delta paid 44 cents/gallon less than United and spent $600 million less than United in total on fuel. Those are very significant differences in fuel burn and fuel expense and they come right out of the reports that each company presented to their stockholders and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It really is not hard to see a big reason why Delta’s profits are so much higher than American or United and that is expected to continue into at least the third quarter.
            This is just for a 3 month period; on an annual basis, DL will spend more than $2 billion less on fuel than AA and UA which is huge. It isn’t a surprise that Delta’s international network is returning to profitability much faster than AA or UA’s and why the size of DL’s international profits will grow larger than was the case pre-covid as Delta adds more new generation aircraft than either American or United combined.
            On the domestic side, DL’s decision to start cutting regional jets years ago also contributes to higher fuel efficiency and lower labor costs.
            Fuel cost and efficiency will be the most significant issue for airlines this decade.

            1. you’d argue with a brick wall and I’m tired of your drivel. Enjoy your fantasyland. Your ability to manipulate data to your view is unrivaled. Perhaps the Russians will need a spin doctor sometime soon.

            1. Tim
              Fake names are cute
              But beneath you.
              Make your own blog that no one will believe or read instead of trolling the aa article universe in your insecure way.

            2. TIm Dunn is the biggest facts manipulator of aviation forums and if anyone dares says anything remotely critical about Delta he has to write a dissertation of fact spinning so he can sleep better at night. Tim Dunn the spin doctor. Julie is right, wasn’t he banned from the conversation thread for a while?

  10. I think one of the primary reasons of the US carriers objection to the ME3 is the EXIM bank deals that those carriers get to buy Boeing airplanes. The crux is simply this, those carriers get access to extremely cheap US government funded money to buy airplanes that they use to compete with US flag carriers. I understand that the cheap financing supports US jobs to produce American aircraft, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of other US employees at US flag carriers. I would have no objections if the US carriers could use the same cheap financing to buy Boeing airplanes.

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