The Secretary for the US State Department Rex Tillerson has confirmed that the United States and Qatar have come to an understanding on matters about civil aviation. The consensus is aimed at addressing the issues that have been raised by major airlines in the United States about subsidy allegations to carriers in the Gulf. Rex Tillerson stated a representative of the Qatari government in the State Department in Washington. The Qatari representative was among a high-level delegation that had been sent to Washington by their government. President Trump admitted that the meeting of the officials from the two countries was a success and that they would provide the global aviation industry with a level playing ground.
The government of Qatar has committed to releasing an audited financial statement for the past fiscal year of the Qatar Airways which is a state-owned corporation. The financial statement is set to shed light on transactions that the company has been involved in and particularly the ones that have been transacted by entities based in Qatar or owned by Qataris. An assurance has been issued to the United States by the government of Qatar that the state-owned airline will do not have plans of operating fifth freedom flights to America. However, Qatar Airways has not issued any guarantees that it won’t operate such plane in the future. Under the Qatar-US Open Skies pact, fifth freedom flights are permitted.
One of the results of the negotiations between the two countries concludes that the United States will not seek to have the open skies agreement re-opened for talks. The US-Qatar accommodation on aviation comes after major American airlines United Airlines and Delta Airlines spent nearly 36 months pushing the American government to take action on what they alleged as illegal subsidies from the Qatar government to the state-owned airline valued at billions of dollars. The allegation was also leveled by the two American airline majors against the United Arab Emirates to Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines.
However, it is not clear whether the US government has made the same agreement with the UAE as the one that was reached between the Qatari government and the US State Department on January 30. Labor groups from the US, United, American and Delta airlines praised the agreement between the US and Qatar as a significant leap forward and said that it takes care of the concerns that they have raised for the last three years.
Published on Wings Journal.