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Still, there is plenty of worry given the size of the Gulf airlines’ jet orders and concerns that they are deeply subsidized by their governments.
European airlines have suggested that the Gulf carriers benefit from access to discounted oil, a favorable tax climate and non-union labor, particularly low-wage immigrant workers from India and Pakistan.
The Middle East influence
Dubai International Airport now sees more passengers annually than New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport
Gulf carrier hubs in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are an eight-hour flight away from two-thirds of the world’s population
Gulf carriers hold one-third of the orders for the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 — two of the world’s largest and farthest-flying jets
But the biggest perk comes from Middle East governments that are investing heavily in attractive, efficient airports.
The Qatari government is building a $15.5 billion airport in Doha, designed to handle 24 million people each year, nearly six times the capacity of the existing facility. In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the government is building a sprawling terminal twice the size of The Mall of America in Minneapolis.
And construction was just completed in Dubai of a concourse designed exclusively for Emirates’ fleet of Airbus A380s. The new building has entire floors dedicated to first- and business-class customers who board directly from lounges, never interacting with coach passengers.
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