Coali­tion of US busi­nesses de­fend Gulf air­lines in sub­si­dies dis­pute

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Wash­ing­ton, US - A coali­tion of trans­porta­tion and tourism busi­nesses on Mon­day called on the US gov­ern­ment to pre­serve avi­a­tion agree­ments with Gulf na­tions de­spite ac­cu­sa­tions of un­fair trade by ma­jor US air­lines.

Busi­nesses in­clud­ing courier ser­vice FedEx, bud­get air car­rier JetBlue and ho­tel gi­ant Wyn­d­ham, op­pose calls from Delta, Amer­i­can Air­lines and United to rene­go­ti­ate Open Skies agree­ments with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The three big­gest US air car­ri­ers say Abu Dhabi and Doha have pumped bil­lions in un­fair sub­si­dies into their na­tional air­lines Eti­had and Qatar Air­ways, and they are lob­by­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to step in.

But, in a let­ter to mem­bers of Congress, a group of 28 busi- nesses said on Mon­day the three air­lines were jeop­ar­dis­ing mil­lions of Amer­i­can jobs by seek­ing to re­strict ac­cess to the US mar­ket for Eti­had and Qatar Air­ways.

‘Th­ese air­lines com­plain of un­fair sub­si­dies but have cho­sen not to use the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion Pro­ce­dures that Congress es­tab­lished to hear such claims’, the let­ter said.

The let­ter was also ad­dressed to the US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and Com­merce Se­cre- tary Wil­bur Ross, among other of­fi­cials. ‘We urge the Ad­min­is­tra­tion to pro­tect Open Skies by in­sist­ing that th­ese claims be as­sessed on the mer­its and in the proper fo­rum’, the let­ter said.

Qatar Air­ways ear­lier this month aban­doned plans to ac­quire a ten per cent stake in Amer­i­can. The US car­rier had ended code shar­ing agree­ments with Eti­had and Qatar Air­ways in July, cit­ing the state sub­si­dies.

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