News broke today that as a result of President Trump’s leadership on trade enforcement to safeguard U.S. jobs, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to end its market distorting airline subsidies and freeze any additional new 5th Freedom routes into the United States. This is a huge step forward in the fight for fair competition in the international aviation marketplace.
Americans for Fair Skies, and the tens of thousands of aviation workers and hundreds of thousands of Americans who have spoken up in support of our effort, sends its sincere appreciation to President Trump and his Administration for taking meaningful action to end the aviation subsidies by the UAE, and its two state-owned airlines, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. President Trump’s leadership and deal-making savvy has now led to successful negotiations for U.S. workers with both the UAE and State of Qatar, which was announced this past January, the two biggest trade cheaters in aviation history. President Trump’s agreements with the UAE and Qatar will ensure that U.S. aviation companies and their workers, consumers, communities, and our country will remain competitive and safe from unfair trade practices.
The recognition that subsidies in aviation are wrong and the increased transparency agreed upon by the UAE will allow the U.S. government to ensure that Emirates and Etihad (and Qatar Airways from the previously announced agreement) all operate free from state subsidization and quickly address the issue if any of the carriers continues to cheat. Like the agreement with Qatar, the UAE agreement also forces the UAE airlines to cover their own airport expenses instead of letting its government pick up the tab.
Most significantly, the Trump Administration successfully received assurances from the UAE and Qatari governments that their will not operate any new 5th Freedom flights into the United States. This is huge, especially for the UAE, as Emirates had been planning a massive, job-killing expansion into the United States, which is now frozen.
The Gulf carriers, Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways, have received over $50 billion dollars in illegal subsidies from the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These illegal subsidies have cost over 1,500 American jobs for each discontinued or forgone international flight, hurting U.S. companies and their workers. The subsidies have hurt America’s consumers and connectivity by reducing the number of flight options and destinations, impacting over 8,000 consumers each day. This will now halt, as President Trump has put American workers first, and put a framework in place to end the subsidies from the UAE and Qatar.