Another Day, Another Email From The Non-Business Travel, Business Travel Coalition

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Kevin Mitchell gets it too. At first, we thought maybe he just struggled to understand this issue. But then we explained it to him. And his response was to start spreading deliberately false information, misrepresenting the facts and quotes and doing whatever he could to spread a false narrative aimed at benefitting, well, not business travelers?

The subsidies aren’t being disputed. Heck, at this point, even the ME3 themselves have gone from fighting back on the facts to deflecting from the issue and making misleading and irrelevant accusations regarding other players in the aviation industry. So, we’ve asked Kevin time and time again, why is it that he thinks it’s okay for the nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to violate their trade agreements with the United States.

Kevin says he likes Open Skies and that everyone benefits from them. We agree. When they work and are enforced. But, if the agreement is just a framework for all parties to do whatever they want, then the agreement no longer works. And it doesn’t just stop working for the countries in the agreement that’s being violated. It stops working for the 115 other agreements as well. Because, if Qatar and the UAE can do it, why shouldn’t everyone else?

Kevin won’t answer these questions because he can’t. There is no response other than “I’m being paid to spread a false narrative that doesn’t fit with the facts, so there is nothing I can do that stands up in the face of the truth.” And clearly, that isn’t going to fly.

But, Kevin seems set on perpetuating his lies, and while he continues to do so, we’ll be here making sure his lies are exposed.

So, here we go again:

Kevin claims that there is nothing in our Open Skies Agreements that expressly prohibits government subsidization. But, both Articles 11 and 12 address subsidization and make it clear that carriers must compete in a “fair and equal” manner.

Furthermore, Kevin claims that specific prohibitory language was avoided because the US government was “conscious” that US carriers were also receiving government subsidies after the events of September 11th crippled the American aviation industry. This is not true. While he doesn’t clearly state what subsidies those would be, we are going to assume he is talking about Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections. According to the WTO, unlike every variety of state-aid being provided to the ME3, Chapter 11 does not constitute a subsidy. The Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act, a response to the US aviation industry being shut down by the federal government in the days following 9/11, is also not a subsidy.

A reminder: If Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad did not receive subsidies, they wouldn’t exist.

Mitchell goes on to address price dumping by not discussing price dumping at all. The truth that he calls myth in his article is the fact that the ME3 dumps capacity at artificially low prices into the US with the aim of reducing competition and increasing their market share. Since he can’t actually refute that fact, he chooses to perpetuate the lie that US carriers choose to ignore markets served by the Gulf carriers- something that he has done before by deliberately misquoting airline officials to try and further his narrative.

To set the record straight, as Delta CEO Ed Bastian very clearly stated in July, if the US government would enforce our existing agreements with Qatar and the UAE, our carriers would fly to India and the Middle East. Those new routes would create more well-paid aviation jobs (as Mitchell has previously admitted to), increase competition, and provide better/more direct options for the consumer. The only reason these routes don’t exist is that the Gulf carriers have made them economically infeasible. (Perhaps the Gulf carriers should be making more economically feasible choices themselves, but we digress). By dumping seats into the market at artificially low prices, the Gulf carriers have pushed all other carriers off those routes and forced thousands of consumers to fly indirect through their hubs.

And while we’re on the subject of Kevin Mitchell’s lies, Kevin Mitchell claims to represent business travelers and organizations associated with business travelers. Well, at least those who haven’t yet stated on record that he was lying about representing them. However, he often argues on behalf of organizations such as:

Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airlines: three airlines with illegal and American job-killing business practices that deliberately set out to violate the international aviation agreements under which they operate.
FedEx: FedEx doesn’t fly passengers and certainly not business travelers, as it is a cargo airline. But they do take money from Emirates Airline.

Atlas Airlines: Atlas also does not fly business travelers, it flies ACMI contracts for Emirates. So, Atlas Airlines also takes money from Emirates Airline.

Jet Blue: JetBlue does not fly long haul international business travelers- i.e. the routes impacted by Open Skies Agreements with countries like Qatar and the UAE. You know what it does do? Sells GSA tickets on Emirates planes. Yet another carrier taking money from Emirates Airline.
Mr. Mitchell, you continue to represent the interests of carriers and foreign governments that seem intent on fostering the least competitive market possible. Clearly your views have been fully developed (paid for), and we won’t try to change your mind. However, unlike you and your clients, Americans for Fair Skies is here to fight for the enforcement of trade agreements that are critical to the success of the American economy, American industry, and American workers from the interests of your clients.

So, as long as you continue to foster your false narrative, we’ll be here to fact check you and share the truth.

americans4fairskies2015Another Day, Another Email From The Non-Business Travel, Business Travel Coalition

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