Lawmakers are urging President Trump to put the brakes on an Emirates flight route that will soon begin flying between the U.S. and Greece, raising concern about an air carrier that receives billions of dollars in state subsidies.
In a letter to the White House this week, bipartisan members representing New Jersey and New York said it’s unfair for U.S. airlines to compete with Emirates and other Gulf carriers that get massive foreign subsidies.
They accused state-owned airlines of undermining the international Open Skies agreement and called on Trump to delay the new roundtrip Emirates flight route between Newark, N.J., and Athens, Greece — which is scheduled to begin Sunday — in order to renegotiate a “meaningful resolution.”
“Foreign governments that violate their agreements with the United States need to be held accountable,” the letter said. “Like you, we believe that our trade agreements must be enforced so that foreign governments understand that they can’t break the rules.”
The U.S. aviation industry has long expressed frustration that state-owned airlines are posing a threat to U.S. jobs. United Airlines employees and unions are planning a rally at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday to shine a further spotlight on the issue.
Critics say that more than $50 billion in subsidies have been funneled to Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways to rapidly expand their services and outpace their industry rivals.
During a meeting with airline executives at the White House last month, Trump acknowledged that U.S. airlines are “under pressure from foreign elements and foreign carriers.”
But “at the same time, we want to make life good for them also,” Trump said. “They come with big investments.”