Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 16 Mar 2015 05:41 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

US coalition fighting Gulf airlines hires new chief spokesperson

Partnership for Open & Fair Skies is in dispute with Gulf carriers over alleged gov't subsidies worth $42bn

US coalition fighting Gulf airlines hires new chief spokesperson

The US-based coalition of airlines embroiled in a dispute with Gulf carriers over alleged subsidy payments on Monday announced a key appointment.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies announced that Jill Zuckman, former Assistant to the Secretary and Director of Public Affairs for the US Department of Transportation, will serve as chief spokesman for the group.

The coalition, a partnership of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and four labour unions, said in a statement that it is dedicated to restoring a level playing field to international air travel.

It has asked the Obama Administration to open consultations under the Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the UAE after claiming airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have received subsidies from their respective governments amounting to tens of billions of dollars.

“The governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are subsidising their state-owned airlines by a staggering amount of money,” said Zuckman.

“As the CEOs of Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline arrive in Washington this week, they have a lot of explaining to do. They need to explain how it is they have received more than $42 billion in subsidies and other unfair benefits from their governments over the past 10 years.

"And they need to open their books since they say they have nothing to hide. Open Skies is based on fair, market-based competition – not a rigged game.”

Before her tenure as a senior advisor to Secretary Ray LaHood, Zuckman was an award-winning political correspondent for The Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe.

She is currently managing director at SKDKnickerbocker, a public affairs firm.

For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.