For the past few years, we have seen the battle between the legacy US carriers and the Middle East Big 3. Much has been said by both sides, but the main argument is on subsidies. It is worth noting that both sides are subsidized, and the legacy US carriers’ argument is both hypocritical and unfounded. The previous administration did not act how the airlines expected, and the current administration has not acted yet.
In order to make a statement, American planned to cancel their codeshares with Etihad and Qatar Airways. This was a HUGE devaluation for American and the AAdvantage Program. At least, through their oneWorld participation, AA miles are still useable on Qatar Airways. I have not had the same luck with Etihad awards. As the drama continues to escalate, we have the latest casualty of the battle.
Etihad Cancels DFW Service
All three ME3 carriers fly to DFW. That number will be down to Qatar and Emirates, because Etihad plans to cancel their flight to Dallas as of March 25, 2018. This is a HUGE blow for people flying into Dallas from the EY network. This flight used to have excellent award availability, both to and from Dallas. Etihad currently flies a 777-200LR from Abu Dhabi, on a daily schedule. This will be added to the other route trimmings Etihad has started. They cut flights to San Francisco, and will reduce flights from daily to 4xWeekly to LAX.
Etihad’s CEO blamed American’s codeshare termination as the reason for the flight’s end. They say that a large number of passengers on those flights were connecting onto American flights. Without the codeshare, those passengers have gone elsewhere for their flights. This means that American’s actions have been felt by the ME3, and that could have subsequent repercussions for their relationship with Qatar. The airlines could realize this, and use their leverage to get what they want, therefore reducing consumer options, and harming competition.
I am very sad to see the flight get cut. The award availability was wonderful, and they offered a solid first class product on the flight. It is a shame that the US Big 3 can collude in order to stifle competition, but alas, some airlines are more equal than others. I would not be surprised to see the airline cut deeper into its routes, given its financial situation. I can see some issues with maintaining routes especially with the financial difficulties faced by Air Berlin’s demise, and Alitalia’s struggle. Only time will tell if the airline will further cut, or find new partners in order to stay competitive in the US market.
What do you think? How do you take Etihad’s departure from Dallas? Do you think this is also a power move by Etihad to turn airports against airlines? Let us know!
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