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Mon 4 May 2015 02:01 PM

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Qatar Airways boosts flights to US amidst ongoing subsidies row

While the Obama administration begins reviewing allegations of gov't support, US airlines have charged the Gulf carriers with taking advantage of the waiting period by adding capacity

Qatar Airways boosts flights to US amidst ongoing subsidies row

Qatar Airways on Monday said it plans to expand its services to the United States, in a move that likely will trigger a backlash from US airlines that accuse it of competing unfairly through state subsidies.

The Gulf carrier announced its first direct flights to Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta from its Doha hub and its second daily flight to New York.

The expansion comes as Delta Air Lines Inc, United Continental Holdings Inc and American Airlines Group Inc press for a temporary freeze on new Gulf airline service to the United States.

The US airlines and their unions have alleged that Qatar Airways, Emirates airline and Etihad Airways have received more than $40 billion in subsidies from their home governments in the last decade.

This, they say, has allowed the Gulf carriers to drive down ticket prices and begin pushing competitors out of key markets.

The Gulf carriers have denied the allegations and said US airlines are losing market share due to poor service.

Qatar Airways said it would fly two-aisle Boeing Co 777 aircraft to Los Angeles and Atlanta. It would fly a two-aisle Airbus Group NV 350-900 XWB aircraft on its Boston route and for its second New York flight.

Los Angeles service begins January 1, 2016, followed by Boston on March 16 and Atlanta on July 1.

While the Obama administration said it would begin reviewing interested parties' comments on the subsidy claims by the end of May, the three US airlines have charged the Gulf carriers with taking advantage of the waiting period, with Emirates adding new flights to Orlando, Boston and Seattle.

"These additional flights and capacity increases will exacerbate the existing harm to US airlines by diverting even more passengers away from US airlines' services to Gulf carriers' subsidized services," the chief executives of the three US airlines said in a joint April 17 letter to the administration.

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procan 5 years ago

Qatar looking for a showdown with US airlines,well it may be good news for the west. Akbar Al Baker will be surprised US public opinion will chose there own every time over Arab autocrats. Popular Mass Media will now carry the ball to Americans, the right wing media will make hay over Arabs pushing there way into US skies. They will project fear American jobs Unions, Human Right Violations in here skies.

ahmed 5 years ago

@procan, you are so off the mark it isn't funny. What is amusing is to view the amount of Americans that opted to fly foreign carriers over there own because they have better service levels, newer planes, and a better overall flying experience. These GCC carriers have supported US jobs by purchasing planes and developing their cargo services. The passenger demand is very high for GCC carriers to the US, so the public speaks with their flight bookings and currently the bookings are sparse during the summer months if you check with a travel agent. Human rights violations was a very harsh comment. I laughed when some celebrities, that were flown into Dubai on Emirates to do gigs here, were flabbergasted by the quality of the planes - they looked foolish.