The Gulf airlines, and particularly Emirates, have had a devastating impact on European long-haul hub carriers. The impact will be different for US airlines…it will be much bigger than most expect. For one thing they will cut across the developed boundaries of the global alliances.

Few would think of flying between Shanghai and San Francisco via Dubai; but Shanghai-New York over the Gulf becomes potentially competitive, as a search on Expedia will show. And, the further south the East Asian point, the more competitive it becomes – for example, a daily Ho Chi Minh City service by Emirates over the Gulf, one-stop to New York offers a direct challenge to any other product…the “product”, especially for business/premium travellers, emerges as a winner for travellers to the Big Apple.

And the distinctive tail, in its UAE colours, will be much better known across the North American continent, as well as the EK code on US airlines’ flight information displays.