U.S. Major Airlines vs. Middle East Carriers: Follow The Money, Pay Attention, And More Next Week

By Holly Hegeman

(Plane Business Banter)- Which brings me to a money issue — closer to home.

I ask that when you read comments or reports concerning this subject that you keep in mind where those comments are coming from. Make no mistake about it. The Middle East carriers are running one very sophisticated and heavily financed campaign.

For example, even I was not aware that John Byerly, the former State Department official who was instrumental in crafting a number of Open Skies agreements, has been on the Emirates payroll for years.

I did know that John has been working with Norwegian.

But as a recent issue of Politico, Byerly “and aviation consultant Michael Korenshave both registered to lobby for Emirates, though Byerly has been consulting for the UAE-based airline for several years.”

Well, how about that.

Then there is Kevin Mitchell’s Business Travel Coalition. We’ve all known for years that Kevin’s coalition is a pay for play organization. Well, if you visit his website now, you’ll see there is a new OpenSkies.Travel section on his site.

If you look at who some of the founders of the site are, you’ll find Dubai Travel and Tour Group based in the UAE. That, in effect, is Emirates.

And this is just the start.

However, all is not lost.

Lee Moak, former President of the Air Line Pilots Association, and grizzled veteran of the Washington patronage pit that passes for reality–well, I guess it actually may be the reality — has started a non-profit organization to help get out the other side of the story. If you are in the U.S. airline industry — if you fly airplanes, work on an airplane, or even fly on a U.S. airplane — I’d highly suggest that you support Captain Moak’s new venture. In whatever way you feel comfortable.

Even if it is to just sign his petition.

His organization, Americans for Fair Skies is a non-profit 501 C4.

It’s a start.

Like I said, hopefully the report will be released next week, we can talk more about the details of the report, and then you’ll know more about why I believe the U.S. major airlines have more than enough justification to have a “consultation” opened up on the “fairness” of the current Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the UAE.

Originally published on PlaneBusiness.com: U.S. Major Airlines vs. Middle East Carriers: Follow The Money, Pay Attention, And More Next Week