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Wed 25 Nov 2015 12:03 PM

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US airlines report surging employment levels, despite claims Gulf carriers are 'harming American jobs'

Latest jobs figure is the highest monthly total since Sept 2008, represents 22 mths of continuous growth

US airlines report surging employment levels, despite claims Gulf carriers are 'harming American jobs'

US airlines reported their 22 consecutive monthly growth in full-time employment in September, despite continued allegations the growth of Gulf-based carriers into the market was a threat to American jobs.

Full-time equivalent employment (FTE) at US scheduled passenger airlines increased 3.3 percent year-on-year in September, according to figures from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

The increase was the highest monthly total since September 2008 and represents nearly two years of consecutive monthly job growth for the US airlines.

“The four network airlines that collectively employ two-thirds of the scheduled passenger airline FTEs reported 3.6 percent more FTEs in September 2015 than in September 2014,” the BTS was quoted as saying.

The data debunks one of the key sticking points as part of an ongoing war of words between the major US carriers and their Gulf rivals. US carrier, including Delta, American and United, through the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, have asked the US government to open consultations with Qatar and the UAE to address the issue of government subsidies being given to the Gulf carriers, which they claim total $42 billion. Dubai's Emirates Airline, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have all strongly deny the subsidy claims.

“While the Obama administration ponders, the Gulf carriers are rapidly expanding into US markets, harming American aviation jobs and jeopardising vital air service to small and mid-sized communities,” Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, claimed earlier this month.

“It’s time for President Obama to get personally involved and enforce our bilateral agreements. The administration needs to stand up for American workers and American businesses and stop the governments of the UAE and Qatar from gaming the aviation marketplace.”

As part of the partnership’s submission to the US government, it claimed that well over 1,500 American jobs are lost for every daily international roundtrip flight a US airline is forced to cut.

However, reports showed that when Dubai’s Emirates Airlines started its service to Orlando, Florida, it helped create around 1,400 local jobs in the area.

Official BTS figures also showed that US carrier which had codeshare agreements with the Gulf carriers, such as JetBlue and Alaska Airlines, reported year-over-year job growth of 11.2 percent and 9.9 percent respectively.

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