US business groups defend Gulf airlines

US business groups defend Gulf airlines


Published: Tue 8 Aug 2017, 9:11 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Aug 2017, 11:14 PM

A coalition of transportation and tourism businesses on Monday called on the US government to preserve aviation agreements with Gulf nations despite accusations of unfair trade by major US airlines.
Businesses including courier service FedEx, budget air carrier JetBlue and hotel giant Wyndham, oppose calls from Delta, American Airlines and United to renegotiate Open Skies agreements with the UAE Qatar.
The three biggest US air carriers say Abu Dhabi and Doha have pumped billions in unfair subsidies into their national airlines Etihad and Qatar Airways, and they are lobbying the Trump administration to step in.
But, in a letter to members of Congress, a group of 28 businesses said Monday the three airlines were jeopardising millions of American jobs by seeking to restrict access to the US market for Etihad and Qatar Airways.
"These airlines complain of unfair subsidies but have chosen not to use the Department of Transportation Procedures that Congress established to hear such claims," the letter said.
The letter also was addressed to the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, among other officials. "We urge the Administration to protect Open Skies by insisting that these claims be assessed on the merits and in the proper forum," the letter said.
The US carrier had ended code sharing agreements with Etihad and Qatar in July. 

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