Over the past several years, the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Gulf carriers was a dominant feature of the air transport industry, much like the growth of low-cost airlines in the short-haul market. Competitors complained about their fast growth, pointed at what they perceived as unfair state support and secretly admired how such massive airlines could be built so fast. Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were also critical for boosting Airbus and Boeing widebody backlogs. But a ...

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