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Tue 28 Apr 2015 02:19 PM

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79% of US voters want gov't to tackle threat from Gulf carriers

New survey reveals that large majority of Americans want to see action on Open Skies Agreements

79% of US voters want gov't to tackle threat from Gulf carriers

A large majority of US voters want to see their government stand up to the threat posed from airlines from the Gulf region, according to a new survey.

A poll of American voters conducted last week showed that over 79 percent believe that the US government should act to remedy trade violations of Open Skies Agreements and stand up for American workers.

The poll results follow a move by three US airlines - United, Delta and American - to produce a white paper claiming that Qatar Airways, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and Dubai's Emirates Airlines have received more than $42 billion in subsidies from their respective governments in the past decade, allegations strongly denied.

The American carriers want the Obama administration to address their concerns over unfair competition by either modifying or terminating the ‘open skies’ trade agreements that the US negotiated with Qatar and the UAE between 1999 and 2002.

If their campaign is successful, Gulf carriers could face restrictions on the number of US flights they’re allowed to operate.

The survey, conducted by Premiere Political Communications of Austin, Texas on behalf of Americans for Fair Skies, polled 2,409 registered voters in San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington DC.

The poll revealed that 79 percent of voters feel that the Obama-led administration should take action to resolve these subsidy violations rather than waiting for the consumer-driven marketplace to work out a solution.

It also showed that 74 percent feel the US government should take action to remedy violations if it was proven that Gulf carriers were violating the Open Skies agreements they signed with the United States.

According to the poll, 79 percent of voters felt it is a national security risk to allow the viability of its aviation infrastructure to be threatened.

"The poll shows that Americans are ready to see the US government stand up for aviation workers and find solutions to aviation trade violations that threaten the viability of a critical national industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it creates," said Captain Lee Moak, president of Americans for Fair Skies.

"The time for consultations between nations to resolve this issue is now."

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DeanMcC 5 years ago

Questions not asked in this poll:

Do you think that American consumers should be allowed to choose airlines that offer a higher quality of service at lower prices than the current US airline oligarchs (United, Delta and American)?

Do you think that these more efficient foreign airlines should be allowed to continue buying record numbers of US made jets, pumping billions into the US economy and supporting hundreds of thousands of US jobs?

Do you think American consumers are naïve enough to believe an absurdly worded poll commissioned by a lobby group paid for by US Airlines that are afraid of some genuine competition?

Jonathan York 5 years ago

If the survey was commissioned by US airlines, the comment above was clearly written at the behest of one of the Gulf airlines for sure because the arguments in the comment ditto mirror those provided by airlines in their defense.

If US consumers are not to be denied right to choose high quality service airlines like Gulf Carriers, then in equal measure, why do Etisalat and Du ban Skype and other voip services? Let the UAE consumer also have choice to choose what they want. That is where the question of protecting jobs comes. So, if the jobs in GCC nationals must be protected, so also those of US nationals? Agree?

Coming to the last argument of buying planes. In any case, same number of passengers will fly whether by United or by Emirates and hence will need same number of seats, so planes will be bought in any case by different airlines and not just gulf carriers thus protecting Boeing jobs.

No matter how much they defend, the fact is that Gulf carriers benefit from state largesse.

Alex 5 years ago

The GCC carriers are making most of their profits by cargo on the U.S. flights (O&G parts from TX, plane spares from Washington, etc). The reason these carriers are preferred is because they have new(er) planes, great service, and compete price wise. However, U.S. carriers have to pay huge tax payments (on labor, fuel, spare parts, etc) that the GCC companies do not. That by itself is a huge "subsidy" from the GCC governments. Having said all that, America is known for competition of the fittest, if the U.S. airlines want to compete, take the gloves off (buy new planes, offer better service, make good cargo deals, etc). I fly Delta to the U.S. instead of Emirates, even though I have a choice, only because the connecting flights are perfect. The GCC carriers do not have good integration into the domestic U.S. market, so layovers and connections are horrible.

ahmed 5 years ago

The Daily Mail ran an article on the 18th of April about a United flight in the US that was held on the tarmac for 6 hours as passengers struggled to survive with one toilet, a meager supply of crackers and dwindling water supplies because this carrier refused to pay $73.00 or 269 dhs. to dock the plane due to bad weather. Would any of these gulf carriers exhibit this atrocious behaviour? I understand that most flights during the summer months are booked on Emirates to LA, so good luck getting a booking, because passengers prefer GCC carriers for their fleets, customer services levels, and professionalism. Up the bar and you will attract passenger numbers again, but not until you get your house in order. I can just assume that 79% of US voters are misinformed and are swayed by US propaganda.

sarah 5 years ago

If I were BA or Lufthasa I would sit back and lower my prices at competitive levels, because if United, Delta and American are successful in banning flights from Gulf carriers, they will get all the business. Do these US carriers realize that barking at the GCC, instead of addressing their internal issues which is why their passenger levels are down, is not the solution? Passengers from this region will just fly other carriers to the US EXCEPT United, Delta and American. Really dumb..... You can't bully passengers to fly your airlines, it will backfire on you!

SAM 5 years ago

99% of Americans don't know what "Gulf Carriers" mean.

Sultan 5 years ago

The counter-argument that US carriers would buy new planes is only a speculation. Historically, given the same opportunity, US carriers didn’t do it. On the contrary, GCC carriers bought new planes and contributed to the US economy. They not only entered the US market but also created a new market of high-value customers. As a result they also won the price-driven market segments. What percentage of the high-value customer segment do the US Carriers have? What offerings do they have for this segment? GCC carriers have a comprehensive product portfolio, enabling them win the price-based competition as well.
Etisalat & Du are not operating in the US. Etisalat doesn't sneak into countries to operate. They buy licenses in the open. These are two different industries. One can't have open skies in exchange for free VoIP; anybody offering?
Those with unique selling propositions will always benefit. Marketing 101.

george 5 years ago

You must be JOKING...!

What did they ask..? Do you want your wonderful airlines..
with pitiful and arrogant service (or.. more to the point--
lack of service) to be subjected to competition with
airlines offering EXCELLENT SERVICE....?

Or, did they ask " do you want the Great American Carriers
to be pushed around by nasty Arabs....?"..

Who are we kidding...!!

This is just ANOTHER affront from the greedy.. record
profit making US Carriers to avoid competition...

What a JOKE.. !

When is the USA going to wake up...!!!

JoeB 5 years ago

Superbly well argued sir.

Karl Marx 5 years ago

Gulf carriers employees don't have the same social contract. Most of the pilots and crew are utterly exhausted from being overworked. They have no union to help them push back on management - the only choice they have is to leave.

It's not a level playing field. Gulf carriers enjoy the advantages of the free markets but they don't employ the social contract that trade unions in the West fought for a century to ensure that life is bearable and fair for ordinary working people.

After all, this is the lifestyle the developing world is chasing. Instead, the effect of globalisation threatens to return western workers to the factory sweatshop standard of of the 19th century.

As the developing world grows economically, it needs to employ the same social contract in terms of sick leave, healthcare, maternity leave, pensions, right of unions etc to ensure that wealth is distributed more fairly for a happier society.

Globalisation and technology are already creating huge wealth imbalance