Two years ago ILA was the stage for a massive Emirates A380 order. The airline bought another 32 aircraft at the time, by far the biggest single commitment for the type. Of course the setting was no coincidence: Emirates wanted more traffic rights into Germany and wanted to demonstrate how much it does to promote the German and European economy. The airline sent one of its A380s that had just been delivered from Hamburg and parked it right next to Lufthansa, to make a statement. Lufthansa executives back then were annoyed at how much time Chancellor Angela Merkel spent on board of the competitor’s aircraft.
Two years on, not much has happened in terms of traffic rights and ILA again is the stage for that rivalry – this time without an order. Lufthansa sent a new Boeing 747-8 to the show to have it named Brandenburg – the German state in which the show ground is located. Of course, Emirates could not leave that unanswered and sent one of its Airbus A380s for two days. It was still here on Wednesday, whereas the 747-8 left on Tuesday evening.
And of course Chancellor Merkel was here again. She helped in the naming ceremony of “Brandenburg”, but she also paid a visit to the Emirates aircraft, which did not remain unnoticed by Lufthansa.
Emirates can fly an unlimited number of frequencies into four German markets and has picked Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Munich, but it would like to add Stuttgart and Berlin. Earlier this year, the carrier looked really close to having its way, but when Lufthansa publicly launched its Score restructuring program, Merkel’s bureaucrats stopped the process at the last minute.