NEWYORK: Apparently tiring of inaction on the Open Skies Agreement war between the Big Three U.S. airlines and their Middle East Gulf counterparts, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, using public forums to get the word out.
Instead of sending it directly to The White House as it has in the past, the lobby group took out ads in the New York Times and New York Post, along with a six-figure cable television buy, to get the message across and appeal to the public at the same time.
The American Airlines, Delta and United, as well as several aviation unions urged the administration to address trade violations by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar in which the U.S.based carriers allege that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines have received $50 billion in government subsidies over the last dozen years.
That threatens 1.2 million American jobs, the Partnership alleges.
The drama began more than two years ago when The Big Three put together a 55-page report on the allegations and presented it to the Obama Administration in January of 2015. Obama administration took no particular action on the allegations.
In fact, President Trump met with several airline CEOs and aviation leaders just weeks ago and said that while the U.S. airlines have a case, the Gulf airlines and their governments are responsible for many thousands and thousands of jobs and revenue by doing business in America.
The advertisements come on the heels of Emirates’ new, year-round flight from Athens, Greece to Newark, New Jersey. U.S. aviation workers rallied at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday to protest the flight for allegedly violating the Open Skies international agreement with the United States.
“The billions of dollars in illegal Gulf carrier subsidies are brazen violations of our Open Skies agreements and a perfect example of the type of trade cheating that President Trump abhors,” Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, said in a statement.
“There are 1.2 million quality American jobs that are being threatened every day by Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. We are respectfully looking to President Trump and his administration for help.”