Open Skies, Maybe, but Hardly Level Skies

You’ve published letters, including one from Emirates Airline on Dec. 4, in response to an op-ed by American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker and Captain Keith Wilson “Rigging the Game on Open Skies” (Nov. 11). These letters disregard the fact that the massive subsidies the governments of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Qatar provide to their state-owned carriers violate the open-skies agreements between our nations. The U.S. has 117 open-skies agreements with countries around the world, and 115 of them are working. We’re asking the Obama administration to enforce the open-skies agreements with Qatar and the U.A.E. just as they would with any other trade agreement and level the playing field so American businesses and workers can compete.

There is a lack of understanding of the significant harm that subsidies exact on the U.S. aviation industry. The airlines we fly for are being forced off international routes by the Gulf carriers, and this will continue if the Obama administration fails to act. When a U.S. airline cuts international frequency, economists estimate that the result is a loss of more than 800 jobs and cuts to domestic service that communities rely on.

We can compete with airlines from across the world when everyone is playing by the same rules, but it isn’t fair competition when we are forced to go up against the treasuries of wealthy nations. The Obama administration must act swiftly to address the Gulf carrier subsidization because the jobs of hundreds of thousands of hardworking pilots, flight attendants, ground crew and many others are at stake.

Capt. Tim Canoll
Air Line Pilots Association, Intl.

Originally published on

americans4fairskies2015Open Skies, Maybe, but Hardly Level Skies