LONDON – The president of Emirates airline pledged Friday to combat suggestions that the company received subsidies from the United Arab Emirates, even as his ever-expanding airline placed a whopping $9.2 billion order to buy Rolls-Royce engines.
Tim Clark told The Associated Press that the allegations levelled by U.S. carriers United, Delta and American amounted to a “storm in a teacup.” The three airlines said earlier year that Persian Gulf-based carriers Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have received more than $40 billion of government aid. The U.S. government said last week it was reviewing the charges and asked all interested parties to submit comments.
“They will be responded to very robustly, reasonably and fairly,” Clark said, adding that Emirates is asking the U.S. government to release all documents related to the claims. “It is very difficult for us to make a complete response if we do not have access to all the documents placed in front of the U.S. government.”
Clark insisted that the company’s financial records were open for all to see, and invited any U.S. agencies concerned about the charges to come to its Dubai headquarters to examine the books.
“We will put our case forward,” he said.
The Rolls Royce deal is the largest-ever order received by the engine maker, and calls for the purchase of 200 Trent 900 engines and a long-term maintenance package. The engines will power 50 Airbus A380 aircraft set to enter service in 2016.
The move by Emirates marks a setback for Engine Alliance, a joint venture by General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. It is the first time that Emirates, based in Dubai, has ordered Rolls-Royce engines for its superjumbo fleet.
Clark said the airline was impressed by Rolls’ commitment to improve economic and operational performance – and to its wish to improve efficiency.