Airline CEOs: Backed Gulf airways are violating commerce agreements, threatening US jobs – USA TODAY

Doug Parker, Ed Bastian and Oscar Munoz, Opinion contributors
Revealed 5:00 a.m. ET July 12, 2019


The Trump administration is aware of a commerce violation when it sees one. It ought to put different international locations on discover by holding Qatar and the UAE accountable.

For many years, the U.S. aviation trade has served as an financial engine in each state, creating jobs for tens of millions of Individuals and constructing enterprise alternatives throughout a variety of industries. We’re proud that the three airways we lead are an integral a part of this story.

However lately, two international international locations have thrown a wrench into this engine. For over a decade, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have violated commerce agreements with the US by funneling over $50 billion in subsidies into their government-owned airways — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. These state subsidies are destabilizing the worldwide airline trade and threatening to undermine our nation’s whole system of commerce enforcement. Left unchecked, they ship a sign that different international locations can ignore our commerce offers and trample upon our employees with out penalties.

Fortunately, final 12 months President Donald Trump negotiated new agreements designed to finish these commerce violations, mandate monetary transparency and restore truthful competitors. However earlier than the ink was even dry, these international locations that are supposed to be our companions had been in search of loopholes.

Staff pay worth for unfair commerce

Qatar is probably most blatantly disrespecting its January 2018 settlement. The nation pledged that its airline wouldn’t launch any flights immediately between the US and Europe. It rapidly shrugged off the dedication by investing in a failing regional Italian airline and rebranding it as Air Italy, which is now getting used as a proxy for brand spanking new subsidy-backed routes between the U.S. and Italy.

To be clear, U.S. airways aren’t against competitors. We compete every day for the enterprise of tens of millions of vacationers, whether or not our rivals are massive, small, personal or government-owned. However what’s occurring with the Qatar and UAE airways isn’t truthful competitors.

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Subsidies enable these carriers to fly money-losing flights in a method no rational industrial airline may afford. It is a bonus that no airline — irrespective of how large — can moderately overcome. In the end, it’s U.S. airline employees who pay the value.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350 (Picture: Michael Probst/AP Picture)

President Trump campaigned on a platform of defending American employees from unhealthy offers and unfair commerce practices. By violating their Open Skies agreements, Qatar and the UAE are placing over 1.2 million American jobs in jeopardy. It isn’t simply the hard-working pilots, flight attendants and floor crews whose livelihoods are in danger; it’s everybody who depends upon the financial engine that the aviation trade creates for our nation. An financial evaluation we submitted to the federal government exhibits that for each long-haul worldwide route a U.S. provider loses or forgoes resulting from backed Gulf provider growth,1,500 American jobs are misplaced.

It additionally raises questions on how the US ought to take care of companions that overtly undermine commerce agreements. In any enterprise, you wouldn’t stand by and do nothing whereas the opposite aspect refuses to conform.

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In mild of actions by Qatar and the UAE over the previous 12 months, the Trump administration seemingly now sees that they haven’t any intention of complying with their longstanding Open Skies agreements or final 12 months’s offers.

Do not reward unhealthy habits

Apart from Qatar’s blatant actions relating to Air Italy, we’re additionally seeing apparent inaction on the a part of each international locations in relation to monetary transparency. In reality, the Gulf carriers are much less clear at present than earlier than the UAE and Qatar signed their respective agreements.

Failure to implement these agreements sends a message to different international locations that they’ll reap the benefits of the US with out penalties. That may’t be our place. If Qatar and the UAE aren’t keen to uphold their aspect of the offers, the US ought to think about eradicating itself from these two Open Skies treaties altogether.

This administration is aware of a commerce violation when it sees one. The USA should act decisively to carry Qatar and the UAE accountable. Failure to take action would reward unhealthy habits and sign to different international locations that they too are free to take advantage of American employees. That could be a harmful precedent that our airline employees and our nation can not afford.

Doug Parker is the CEO of American Airways. Ed Bastian is the CEO of Delta Air Traces. Oscar Munoz is the CEO of United Airways.


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