Emirates CEO: “This is a government issue”

Washington, DC – Today, Emirates Airline released their response to the white paper released in January that outlined the over $42 billion in government subsides that Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways have received over the past 10 years.

At a press conference in Washington, DC to present Emirates’ response, their CEO Tim Clark stated, in respect to the ongoing debate over Gulf government subsidy violations of Open Skies agreements: “After all, this is a government issue.” Mr. Clark, Americans for Fair Skies could not agree more.

In January, evidence was presented to the U.S. government documenting more than $42 billion in subsidies by the United Arab Emirates government to its airlines Emirates and Etihad and the government of Qatar to its airline Qatar Airways. These subsidies are in direct violation of the Open Skies Agreements Qatar and the United Arab Emirates signed with the United States. Airlines in Europe, including Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, have submitted responses to the U.S. government supporting U.S. airline workers and airlines, and presenting their case on how the Gulf subsidies are harming workers in Europe as well as the United States.

As Mr. Clark noted, Open Skies Agreements are negotiated between governments. And the Open Skies agreements contain clear mechanisms for dispute resolutions in the form of government consultations. Americans for Fair Skies is asking for 2 of the 115 existing Open Skies Agreements to be reviewed. The time for the U.S. to formally engage those two violators – the UAE and Qatar – is now. At least Mr. Clark got that right.