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Sun 4 Dec 2016 02:31 PM

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US campaigners lambast Qatar Airways' Las Vegas expansion

Partnership for Fair & Open Skies says the new service violates fair competition

US campaigners lambast Qatar Airways' Las Vegas expansion
Qatar Airways announced in November it would start flying to Las Vegas from 2018, in what will be the airline’s eleventh US destination,

The lobby group acting on behalf of the three largest US airlines has hit out at Qatar Airways’ decision to launch a new service from Doha to Las Vegas.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies says the new route breaches open skies policies between the two countries.

Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the campaign group, said at the weekend: “The new Qatar Airways Las Vegas-Doha route is one more punch in the nose to the US as the Gulf states flagrantly disregard their agreements with our country.”

Qatar Airways announced in November it would start flying to Las Vegas from 2018. It is the airline’s eleventh US destination, and the announcement has sparked indignation from campaigners battling the Gulf carriers’ ongoing expansion in the US.

The three biggest US carriers – United, Delta and American Airlines – claim Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have received a package of subsidies from their governments that has “unfairly” spurred their growth.

Their continued expansion into the US is a breach of fair competition rights in global aviation and should be curbed, they argue. The Gulf airlines deny the claims.

Zuckman said in a statement on Friday: “We have extensively documented that Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways are only able to carry out their rapid expansion thanks to massive government subsidies that violate Open Skies agreements with the US and threaten 300,000 American jobs.

“In just the last two years, there has been more than a 46 percent increase in Gulf carrier flights to the US – flights that simply don't make economic sense for a rational, profit-minded business to operate.

“Sadly, these important international trade agreements have not been enforced, costing America solid middle class jobs. We urge President-elect [Donald] Trump to take this on once he is sworn into office.”

In another blow to the US campaign, the US Transportation Department on Saturday granted flying rights to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA’s Irish unit – despite protests by US airlines and unions who said services by Norwegian would undermine wages and working standards.

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larry ellison 2 years ago

I am not sure who is right or wrong, but I can tell you that the 3 carriers have upped the ante and forced US airlines to improve their product offering.
Unlike Chinese trading practices which cost American Jobs, these Gulf airlines have opened to avenues to bring in more passengers and trade to these routes. they have brought economic benefits to the local US economies and created jobs.

I really cant understand why there is a need for US Airlines to complain, after all they can also ply the same routes as its a free market.

The situation is very different to Chinese/Mexico imports - where these 2 countries are allowed to export to the US without tariffs , but if the US exports goods to China/Mexico they are slapped with a tariff- thereby making US goods non competitive and costing American jobs

Gulf airlines on other hand have opened new trading routes to the US , created direct and indirect jobs , pumped tourism dollars into local economy, purchased American planes/engines

John Din 2 years ago

Very well said Larry. The market is free and open - if the American carriers are so concerned & threatened they should improve their offering to entice customers to them.
American airlines have been offering poor quality for years whereas now the Gulf carriers have exposed that.
The Americans are spending too much time whining when they should be working towards challenging their competition.

Christopher Noel 2 years ago

Larry and John, you are missing the point.

Our countries have exchanged access to each others communities if certain rules contained in the Open Skies agreements are followed. We follow the rules. They don't. All the US airlines are asking for is for the rules to be enforced. No government subsidies.

James Binding 2 years ago

The Middle East are the largest customers to Boeing currently, the GCC Carriers are in actual fact creating jobs within the U.S. economy, this element is being completely overlooked!

The following is even taken from Boeing's website:

Boeing has forecast that the Middle East will require 3,310 new airplanes, worth an estimated $770 billion, over a 20-year period from 2016 to 2035. While about 45 percent of that demand will be for single-aisle airplanes, 53 percent will be for small, medium and large widebody airplanes, and the remaining two percent are demand for regional jets.

Dubai-based Emirates Airline is currently the world’s largest operator of the 777 with more than 150 of the airplanes its fleet. In August 2016.

American Carriers should stop being so short-sighted!