Emirates may be capped to protect Lufthansa

The German government may try to limit the number of incoming flights from the Gulf region to shield Lufthansa from non-European peers’ competition, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing an internal progress report by the German Transport Ministry. Emirates Airlines has asked the government for permission to add Berlin and Stuttgart to its German destinations, which could give long-haul passengers the option of leaving Germany without having to first take a domestic flight, for instance with Lufthansa, to major hubs Frankfurt or Munich, the newspaper said.

Emirates is clearly planning to turn the ‘Gulf region into a hub for a global, continuously growing traffic network, thereby diverting traditionally direct connections between Europe and the Far East or Africa to the Middle East,’ the Ministry’s report said, according to the newspaper.

The airline is working on a ‘fleet expansion of unknown dimensions’ and has for that purpose ordered 47 of Airbus’s new mammoth A380 jets, the newspaper cited the report as saying.

The German government is prepared to initiate talks with United Arab Emirates, in which it may offer to allow Emirates planes to fly to Berlin and Stuttgart, but only in exchange for a cap on the number of flights coming in at the current level of 63 per week, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said both the Transport Ministry and Emirates Airlines declined to comment on the matter.