In what is the largest non-defence related aviation deal ever, Emirates airline has signed an agreement with British engine maker Rolls-Royce to supply engines for 50 new Airbus A380s. The deal is estimated to be worth $9.2 billion (Dh33.79 billion) and the engines will power the 50 planes ordered at the Dubai Airshow in 2013. The size and scale of the contract will ensure continued work for Rolls-Royce staff for years to come — in concrete terms, mortgages and car payments made, children educated, holidays taken, retirements secured.

This deal emphasises once again that the Gulf-based carriers — Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways in particular — are keen on growing their routes and fleets. Together, they have more high-capacity and long-haul planes on order than most other airlines put together. Add to that the purchasing power of the low-cost operators in the UAE — AirArabia and flydubai — and the purchasing impact of the carriers across all sectors of the aviation manufacturing industry globally is significant. In Canada, in a small town near Ottawa, workers who make aviation wiring racks and light-weight cabin fittings have high-paying unionised jobs for years to come — pay cheques to buy pickup trucks, snowmobiles, hockey lessons for sons, jazz dance lessons for daughters — as a result of Gulf carriers’ orders for Boeing 777s.

Sadly, the scale and impact of the purchasing power and positive effect of the Gulf carriers is being maligned — purposely — by an alliance of US carriers who have failed to compete and failed to persuade passengers to fly long distance with them.

Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines are lobbying hard to try and get the US federal government to alter open-skies agreements to exclude UAE and Qatar carriers. Why? Because the executives who head those American airlines were too busy slashing jobs, merging operations and trimming back services than seeking ways to enhance competition and promote customer satisfaction.

When passengers book flights, they click and purchase tickets on the basis of price, service and convenience. New planes, more routes, better service and cheaper tickets, because of fuel-efficient engines, matter. But the US carriers just don’t get it.