A newly released 55-page white paper documents $42 billion in government subsidies and unfair benefits provided to Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline in direct violation of U.S. Open Skies policy.
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The paper, Restoring Open Skies: The Need to Address Subsidized Competition from State-Owned Airlines in Qatar and the UAE, was released today by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, along with the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l, the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The three U.S. airlines and labor organizations also announced the launch of a new coalition, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, dedicated to restoring a level playing field to international air travel.
The Partnership supports U.S. Open Skies policy and the airline members recently presented the white paper to the U.S. government, calling on the Obama Administration to open consultations under the Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to address the flow of subsidized capacity to the United States, and requesting a freeze on new passenger service during the consultations.
Evidence gathered during a global two-year investigation and documented in the report shows that Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have received $42 billion in quantifiable subsidies and other unfair benefits from their respective governments since 2004.
The white paper uses the globally accepted definition of subsidy as established by the World Trade Organization and agreed to by all 160 WTO members, including Qatar and the UAE.
"We welcome competition with all international carriers and are in strong support of Open Skies, which has provided wide benefits to the global economy and millions of Americans," said Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines.
"However, the subsidies provided by the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates undermine the true spirit of Open Skies and distort the international aviation market." ■
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