* Emirates pushing to get right to land at Berlin airport
* German transport ministry won’t hold talks with Emirates
* Emirates: Hopeful it will get access to Berlin, Stuttgart
(Adds transport ministry spokesman, Emirates comments)
FRANKFURT, May 20 (Reuters) - Germany’s transport ministry said it was not holding talks with Dubai-based Emirates [EMIRA.UL] airline over the rights it is seeking to land in Berlin.
A spokesman for the ministry confirmed a report in German daily Handelsblatt said representatives of the ministry met Emirates managers on Thursday but did not agree to hold official talks on giving the carrier the slots it wanted in the German capital.
Emirates has been aggressively expanding its route network, provoking fears that Gulf-based superjumbos would draw traffic from European carriers’ hubs. [ID:nLDE7491N8]
It has been pushing to get landing rights in Berlin and Stuttgart, in addition to its existing German destinations Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Munich and Hamburg.
German flagship carrier Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) has reportedly asked the government to deny Emirates landing slots at Berlin’s new airport. [ID:nLDE70G0CK]
“Since 2004, Emirates has been seeking access to Berlin and Stuttgart because of market demand and the strong business, trade and government support of those cities and regions,” a spokesperson for Emirates said on Friday.
The carrier said it was hopeful its request would receive German government support, adding that it was in touch with the relevant authorities.
Last year, the United Arab Emirates failed to gain greater access for Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways in Canada, leading to tension between the two countries.
Handelsblatt cited industry sources as saying Emirates plans to fly to Munich with an A380 superjumbo from 2012 to increase passenger capacity in and out of Germany. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Sam Cage and Erika Solomon; Editing by Will Waterman)