Italy: Emirates Granted "Fifth Freedom Rights" For Milan-New York Flights: A New Target On EU - U.S. Routes

A new scenario is taking shape in the airline industry with the rapid expansion of Emirates, the Persian Gulf-based airline, which in a recent development has begun offering services between the European Union and the U.S. through direct flights as well as under special partnerships with other airlines.

The Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is all set to ferry passengers bound for the U.S. through Dublin, under a deal with Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus. Dubai's Emirates airline, Etihad and Qatar Airways have recently added flights to the Americas, before having significantly expanding into Asia and Europe.

The largest among the above, Emirates, is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group, which is wholly owned by the Dubai Government and a subsidiary of the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Founded only in 1985, by the early 1990s, it had made giant strides to become one of the world's fastest growing airlines. In October 2008, it opened the largest terminal in the world, handling over 27 million passengers.

Emirates has requested slots and traffic rights in order to be granted the right to extend one of its three daily flights from Dubai (DXB) to Milan Malpensa (MXP) onwards to New York's John F. Kennedy International (JFK) from the 1st of October 2013.

After an analysis of the relevant traffic flows, Emirates has affirmed the identification of a strong demand for both direct connections as well the Emirates brand name which is considered to stand out from the rest, being the only carrier in the region to offer a first class cabin.

On the 8th of April, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) has authorized the proposed services on an extra bilateral basis, thus granting the fast growing UAE carrier rights to land in Italian territory, and board passengers travelling on to a third state, the U.S., where the passengers disembark (also known as "beyond rights").

This long-haul route, which allows Emirates to operate scheduled flights to pick up passengers in Italy and take them to the U.S. can be defined as an expression of the "fifth freedom" provided by the Chicago Convention of 1944, which was firstly aimed at preparing a framework within which civil air transport could develop.

The route is thus enabled by the "open skies" agreement between the U.S. and EU, along with special authorization by Italian aviation regulators. Rules that govern such routes allow an airline to fly paying customers between two foreign cities, as long as the flight continues to or from its home country. In the Emirates' case, its Milan – New York route will continue to and from its main hub, Dubai.

After having abandoned a similar route via Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel (HAM) to New York JFK some years ago, this is going to be Emirates' long-haul flight between Europe and the Americas. Eventually, this would mean that from the coming autumn, Emirates will be operating three daily flights linking Dubai with New York. The one-stopper via Milan will complement Emirates' twice daily non-stop A380 services.

Currently, the three carriers plying the route are Alitalia, Delta and American Airlines. This new offering from the Emirates brand is likely to provide more choice for business people travelling the route.

As far as this sector is concerned, currently, Emirates is the only carrier to offer first class cabins amongst its range of products. Their service can accommodate 8 passengers in first class, 42 in business and 310 in the economy class, whereas its competitors, viz., Alitalia, Delta and American Airlines, have business class as their best onboard product.

Moreover, the new daily service will be operated by a three-class 360-seat Boeing 777-300ER jet, potentially the best aircraft available in the market. Alitalia plies the route with A330 while Delta and American Airlines operate versions of the B767.

In light of the above factors, Emirates sees a new and clear opening for its business since the route has been hitherto bereft of any strong premium product offerings. Also, similar one-stop services have proved to be quite popular on other routes of the UAE carrier, affording its passengers the opportunity to experience new destinations or to break up their journey on longer trips. The Middle East airline acknowledges that Malpensa is an interesting facility due to its proximity to the Swiss border and due to the fact that Lugano airport (LUG) cannot handle long-haul flights.

However, from a EU perspective, Emirates' foray into the EU-U.S. air transport market could represent a concern in terms of loss of traffic for its European competitors because trans-Atlantic routes are considered to be amongst the biggest profit centers for many European carriers.

In addition, it must be noted that the global financial crisis has put at a disadvantage companies like Alitalia that had already exhibited signs of financial weakness and economic vulnerability.

Nonetheless, in the case of Alitalia, the former Italian flag carrier could potentially cope with the aforementioned challenges, given the fact that the huge non-EU airline is today allowed to offer services, which until now, was a prerogative of flag airlines.

Alitalia's concerns could also compound due to its real financial situation, and an increasingly aggressive onslaught from low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet, which have gained significant market shares.

On the other hand, Emirates has built up a strong brand name as a leader in the aviation industry, particularly in terms of service excellence and rapid expansion, coupled with consistent profitability. Now it has been granted the chance to target a significant route like the one linking Milan and New York.

In response to the aforementioned scenario, the European Union, through the Commission, and recently through the Parliament (draft report on the EU's External Aviation Policy – Addressing future challenges 2012/2299(INI) of the 1st of March 2013), has focused on the consolidation of the EU's aviation industry in the global market.

In particular, the European Parliament acknowledged that the global position of non-EU carriers has been reinforced through massive new investments in aircraft and infrastructure that have already been undertaken in various parts of the Middle East. The competitiveness of EU carriers has been further affected by factors such as state aid provided to its competitors that are not subject to EU competition laws, varying rates of taxes, airport congestion, high ATM and airport charges.

Taking all these into consideration, the Parliament has stressed the importance of fair and open competition, hoping for inclusion of standard fair-competition clauses in bilateral air service agreements, and calling on the Commission to define a minimum set of standard requirements to be included therein.

Strategically speaking, the European Union needs to preserve a competitive aviation industry, which must also be developed in external markets.

Again, in the case of Alitalia, aside of the concerns revealed by European Institutions, it remains to be seen whether Alitalia will be capable to implement effective commercial strategies in order to avoid loss of trans-Atlantic market shares.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions