Sunday, February 26, 2012

Abu Dhabi to D.C.: For the Private Planeless

AMEInfo reported:

Etihad Airways announced the launch of non-stop daily flights to Washington, D.C., the airline's fourth destination in North America, from March 31 2013, subject to regulatory approvals.

The Washington region is home to America's second largest market flying to the Middle East, after New York. Etihad Airways' new service will link D.C. with Abu Dhabi, a vibrant and growing hub for business, culture and tourism.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "No other UAE carrier is offering nonstop services between D.C. and the UAE, so this capital-to-capital link is a huge opportunity for Etihad Airways."
The article highlighted trade relations between the two countires:

The new service will further strengthen the already strong political and economic ties between the National Capital Region and the UAE. Last week, the US Department of Commerce released data showing that total trade volume between the US and the UAE rose to $18.3bn in 2011, a 43% increase from the year before.

This increase represents the highest trade volume to date between the US and UAE. It also means that, for the third consecutive year, the UAE is the single largest export market for US goods in the Middle East. The US is the fifth largest trade partner worldwide for the UAE.

How much of the increase was military related?  The UAE Embassy in D.C. reported:

The UAE has turned to the United States as a major defense supplier, to help ensure interoperability of forces. In 2009, the US Congress approved a UAE request to purchase more than $15 billion in US defense equipment. Included in this package is the world’s most sophisticated missile defense system, making the UAE the only country, other than the United States, to deploy this technology.

The UAE currently has a number of military equipment programs with the United States, including:

  • Patriot PAC-3 (Raytheon and Lockheed Martin)
  • HAWK Air Defense Missile System (Raytheon)
  • AH-64 Apache Longbow Helicopter (Boeing)
  • UAE Air Force Command and Control System (Northrop Grumman)
  • C-130 Cargo Aircraft (Lockheed Martin)
  • C-17 Aircraft (Boeing)
  • F-16 E/F Advanced Fighter Aircraft (Lockheed Martin)
  • Multiple weapon systems associated with F-16 E/F (Northrop Grumman, Raytheon)
  • UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters (Sikorsky Aircraft)
  • High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Lockheed Martin)
  • Maverick air-to-surface missiles (Raytheon)
  • In the pipeline: AVENGER, SLAMRAAM, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, known as THAAD.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex ballooned since his prescient warning.  It's now the Government Corporate Monstrosity, fueled by trillions in federal budget steroids.

Roid Rage means more wars. YNET reported:

Officials said that the Pentagon submitted a request to Congress on February 7 on behalf of Central Command seeking to reallocate $100 million in defense funding to "bridge near-term capability gaps" in the Persian Gulf.

US special-operations teams stationed in the United Arab Emirates would take part in any military action in the strait should Iran attempt to close it, defense officials told the WSJ
Etihad Airways expects players from the Government Corporate Monstrosity to buy seats:

12 Diamond First Class
28 Pearl Business Class
200 Coral Economy Class
Etihad knows who might fill their luxury seats:

In the Washington region alone, there are a number of organizations that have a strong business presence in the UAE, or deep relationships with UAE institutions. Among those companies are the Carlyle Group, Hilton International, Lockheed Martin and Children's National Medical Center. Respected local think tanks and policy organizations, such as the Brookings Institution and the US Institute of Peace, are also working closely with their counterparts in the UAE.

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein is known for his global travels, only he doesn't buy seats.  WSJ reported:

The Carlyle Group paid $4.75 million in 2010 for business-related flights made by David Rubenstein, the private-equity firm’s co-founder, according to Carlyle’s IPO documents.
WSJ added Rubentein's Gulfstream IV  is "registered to a Delaware letter-box firm, Rabbit Run LLC. Rubenstein has owned a home on Nantucket – on Rabbit Run Road."

Maybe Etihad can hire the UAE's Rabbit Control Systems LLC and get David Rubenstein in a Diamond First Class seat.