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VIDEO: Delta Airlines apologises for Gulf airlines terrorism link slur

Posted 19 February 2015 · Add Comment

Delta Airlines has issued an apology after its CEO, Richard Anderson, appeared to link Gulf-based air carriers with the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a CNN interview.

In an interview on CNN’s Quest Means Business on Monday, Anderson said “It's a great irony to have the United Arab Emirates from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that, given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula…”

US carriers claim that the "Gulf Three" carriers, Etihad, Qatar, and Emirates, are receiving billions of dollars in subsidies. The Gulf airlines reject those claims, and retort that U.S.-based carriers themselves benefited from government help in the aftermath of 9/11.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker reacted angrily to Anderson’s comments, telling CNN’s Quest: “Well, I think he should be ashamed to bring the issue of terrorism to try to cover his inefficiency in running an airline.”

Al Baker also strongly refuted suggestions that female flight attendants on Qatar Airways are required to ask permission to get married and to get pregnant, calling the claims “bullshit".

Delta issued an apology for Anderson's remarks.

In the statement the airline said: “Richard was reacting to claims the Gulf carriers have been making that US airlines received subsidies in the form of payments from the US government after the 9/11 attacks and the bankruptcy proceedings that resulted. He didn’t mean to suggest the Gulf carriers or their governments are linked to the 9/11 terrorists. We apologise if anyone was offended."

The apologydid not appease the anger at Dubai-based carrier Emirates.

"We believe that the statements made this week by Mr Anderson were deliberately crafted and delivered for specific effect," the airline said. "This brings into question his credibility as a CEO of a US public listed company, as well as the integrity of the submission which his airline has submitted to the US authorities."

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