Delta Reduces Service To Dubai… Because Subsidies

Filed Under: Delta

Delta has announced this week that they’ll be cutting capacity on their Atlanta and Dubai route this winter. Presently Delta operates daily Boeing 777-200LR flights between Atlanta and Dubai, which they’ll be reducing.


As of October 1, 2015, Delta will only operate their Atlanta to Dubai route 4-5x per week throughout the winter schedule, though the flight should be returning to daily in the spring.


What’s causing Delta to reduce their Atlanta to Dubai frequencies? Via Reuters, Delta claims:

“The reduction comes amid overcapacity on U.S. routes to the Middle East operated by government-owned and subsidized airlines,” Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said in a statement, noting that daily service would return in the spring of 2016.

Oh boy, Delta almost got a “Bingo” with that quote. Now they just have to throw in “Arabs” and “9/11” and they’ll have hit all their fear-mongering talking points!


There’s nothing quite like one of the world’s most profitable airlines playing the victim card while choosing to reduce their international service on one route by a couple of days a week in order to prove a point. I’m sure the cause of the reductions are the “government-owned and subsidized airlines” and not the overall weaker international demand for air travel to the US… as Delta has claimed in the past:

Delta said months ago that its international capacity cuts were in response to falling crude prices hitting demand in oil-rich markets and to the strong U.S. dollar that has hurt the spending power of foreign travelers.

Earlier this year Delta announced that they would be cutting some international routes due to the strong US dollar, as you’d expect. When they cut capacity to Brazil, Japan, etc., that’s simply a function of the strong US dollar and weaker foreign demand… including when they cut a route altogether!

Meanwhile when they cut capacity on one route to the Middle East, they blame those pesky Middle Eastern carriers.

Ugh, those damn subsidized airlines! Of course we’re talking specifically about the Middle Eastern ones, and not the government subsidized airline that Delta just bought a $450 million stake in. Oh and we’re also cherry picking which Middle Eastern carriers to pick on — certainly not their government subsidized Middle Eastern partner, Saudia.

Bottom line

The reason the US airlines are experiencing record profitability is because of strong US demand for air travel and the low price of oil. It should come as no surprise that there will be some negative consequences of that globally… like, ya know, weaker demand from an oil rich country and weaker demand from foreigners to the US, given the strong US dollar.

But why let the facts get in the way of the US carriers’ subsidy fantasy?

I think this would be a great time for Emirates to follow Qatar’s lead and start service to Atlanta… maybe even hourly A380 shuttle service? 😉

  1. Not to say that Delta isn’t a bit of a whiner baby, but low oil prices probably would effect demand for a flight from the US-DXB that doesn’t have the benefit of connecting to Emirates’s vast route network.

  2. They should just lean into it and announce everything bad is because of ME3 subsidies. “We are reducing ATL-MCO service from 184 times per day to 182 times per day because of less connecting traffic due to ME3 subsidies.” “We are delayed on flights departing JFK because of all those EK flights due to the ME3 subsidies.” “We are gutting SkyMiles because of … ME3 subsidies.”

  3. All GCC currencies are tiee to the US dollar and the Emirati dirham specifically has had the samw rate for about thirty years. Stronger or weaker dollar has literally no effect in this relationship. This is just Delta realising it cant cry about subsidies when it runs a daily flight.

  4. No wonder DL is upping the game in such ‘Have it All’ Comfort +, which I don’t see ME3 offer in the near future lol

  5. “Gag me with a spoon DL”, you must be kidding us. right ? Like a playground fight their whining again. Oh by the by “Have it all” Comfort + is smoke and mirrors.

    What cracks me up is the “big three” argue that the GSC’s are subsidized, well they do buy more of their metal from the US than the “big Three” do why does DL. UA and AA buy AB’s THEIR SUBSIDIZED heavily thats why.

  6. Why on earth would i want to fly Delta to Dubai, when i can be treated like royalty on Emirates. Delta being really foolish. If they had any brains, they would configure two 777’s with a special über first class cabin and offer an über service to Dubai, just for the sake to compete with Emirates. But that would be asking for too much i guess.

  7. Luck, this is probably to control capacity ? There is high Load Factor
    “Delta flies from Atlanta, while United flies from Washington Dulles. Clark said passenger load factors on the flights are in the eighties (percent) and nineties (percent), and that “under normal rules, you would put a bigger flight on – but they don’t.”

    Do you think Emirates is right, and delta/united doing this to control capacity, thus raise prices ?
    This would explain why planes are almost always full

    Check this article

  8. @nathan said what was on my mind — if an ME3 carrier is flying on a route I need, why would I ever put up with the pathetic service from any of the US3 carriers? I’ve said it before, but our office travel policy is to get our employees OFF US carriers as quickly as possible. I’ve had cattle-class flights on non-US carriers with service that was superior to First on US carriers, and that’s quite sad considering America was the foundation of modern air travel.

  9. Im sure there will soon be daily A380 from atlanta to dubai and also daily A380 atlanta to Europe just cuz emirates can

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