President Trump is set to meet with the chief executive officers of American, Delta and United airlines. For years now, the big three U.S.-based airlines have accused three chief rivals from the Middle East of being subsidized by their respective governments, running faultily of the Open Skies Agreements. The meeting is set on Thursday.
The three CEO's are Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, and American CEO Doug Parker. Parker won't be able to attend the meeting because of a previously set conference in Dallas. The three believe that there exists an unfair trade agreement in which Etihad, Emirates and Qatar airlines are cheating the system by accepting more than $50 billion in government subsidies for the past several years..
The subsidies allow the Gulf carriers to operate without concern for turning a profit, unlike U.S. airlines, and therefore focus entirely on stripping market share and driving out competition," the CEOs wrote, reports Travel Pulse." The subsidy-enabled capacity dumping by the Gulf carriers has nearly removed all U.S. carrier service to the Middle East and India.
They also said that if left unmonitored, they will continue to see the Gulf carriers grab the U.S. market, further depriving hard-working Americans For every long-haul route lost or foregone as a result of subsidized Gulf carrier competition, thousands of American jobs are lost, they said.
The three Gulf carriers presently have a combined 29 routes to the U.S. from the Middle East, growing at a fast rate and further angering their American counterparts with their choice of routes. Last year, Qatar Airways created a route between Atlanta-Delta's main hub-and Doha. Emirates made such similar moves in another route.
With President Trump, they have a president who has stated his stand on unbalanced trade agreements and keeping American jobs a priority. The Open Skies Agreement between the United States and 120 countries allows for airlines to travel freely back and forth between any destination without government intervention.
However, some U.S. carriers are against the stand of the Big 3, including JetBlue and Hawaiian, which also provides connections to the Middle East carriers, and FedEx and Atlas Air, which provides cargo service to the region.
"The demands of the legacy carriers would reduce competition, undermine Open Skies, and harm the American economy," group spokesman Andrea McCarthy said in statement, according to USA Today. " She also expressed that rather than giving in to these demands, they should support Open Skies agreements, which she believes favor more Americans.
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