What are Open Skies Agreements?

Since 1992, the US Department of Transportation and the US State Department have negotiated over 100 Open Skies Agreements. In many ways, these Agreements created the modern global aviation industry, and when implemented correctly, they have the potential to create massive sustained growth.

These Agreements create an opportunity for private airlines to compete in the Open Marketplace free from government interference. When they work as intended, the agreements benefit everyone: Consumers are given greater choice for lower fares, airlines are free to quickly adapt their service to meet consumer demand, and more Americans are employed in the aviation industry due to the resulting growth.

Do we have Open Skies Agreements with the UAE and Qatar?

Yes. Two Open Skies agreements were signed with the United Arab Emirates (which contains the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and Qatar, to open up aviation markets between their countries the U.S.

The Open Skies agreement the US has with the UAE applies to both the Emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai AND their respective national carriers, Etihad and Emirates. Etihad did not exist at the time of the agreement.

The Open Skies agreement the U.S. has with Qatar applies to that country and their national airline, Qatar Airways.

What does this mean for the future of U.S. aviation, aviation workers, and consumer choice?

It means U.S. airlines will have to cut routes, aviation workers will be laid off, and consumers will have fewer options. If we don’t act soon, well paid, middle class jobs that support hundreds of thousands of American families will be lost.

Once the Gulf carriers have a monopoly on the market, they will be able to set any price they like on their seats, as well as determine availability of routes. Ultimately, these violations mean fewer jobs in the U.S. and more jobs moving to the Middle East. These violations will remove a critical American trade industry, and will reduce consumer choice in travel.

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