Americans for Fair Skies Applauds European Leadership to Combat Gulf Airline Subsides; Calls on U.S. Government to Act Now

Americans for Fair Skies applauds a recently announced combined European effort to combat the illegal subsidies from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to their airlines and ensure “fair competition.” Lead by France and Germany, it asks European Union partners and the EU executive commission to work together in finding strategy that will bring about a fair and equitable resolution to this issue.[1]

This development comes after “current EU talks with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council on fair aviation competition have failed to curb market-distorting government aid to carriers such as Emirates, Etihad Airways PJSC and Qatar Airways Ltd,” according to European Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.[2] If implemented, this new effort, supported by other EU member states and the European Commission, would replace individual bilateral agreement negotiations and will be headed by the Commission on behalf of individual members.

French transport minister Alain Vidalies stated, “Any commercial flying agreement including the granting of air traffic rights to foreign carriers should be accompanied by provisions allowing member states to monitor potential illegal subsidies and unfair competitive practices.”

Germany’s Transport Minister further explained that such an arrangement would allow for the opportunity for both sides to talk about new landing rights and would likely delay the decision to further open European Markets until such conversations had taken place.

“Americans for Fair Skies applauds the efforts that France and Germany have taken to support their aviation industries and their workers and end the market distorting Gulf subsidies,” said Americans for Fair Skies President, Lee Moak. “We are calling on the U.S. government to safeguard our vital aviation industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it creates by requesting consultations with the governments responsible for the subsidy violations and until such time as an equitable resolution has been reached, freeze new routes for these parties into the U.S.”

Americans for Fair Skies is a grassroots coalition, established with the aim of restoring fairness to our Open Skies policies. They are asking the U.S. government to take action on what has been established as the largest trade violation in history. Last week, Americans for Fair Skies launched a new television ad, which can be viewed here, highlighting how the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are shredding Open Skies agreements they signed with the U.S. by providing their airlines more than $40 billion in subsidies.

Learn more at fairskies.wpengine.com.

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[1] http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/247817/eu-agrees-joint-approach-to-gulf-carriers/?utm_source=content_and_community&utm_medium=social_media&utm_campaign=the-hub

[2] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-13/gulf-carriers-may-face-tougher-eu-effort-to-tackle-subsidies