Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Thu May 07 2015

Business Community Joining Open Skies Fray

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | May 07, 2015

Business Community Joining Open Skies Fray

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Initially, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies was a group formed for American, Delta and United airlines in their fight against Persian Gulf carriers, whom the U.S. airlines believe are receiving government subsidies and distorting the marketplace.

Then the group was joined by several prominent airline industry unions, concerned over the potential loss of American jobs.

Now the business community is joining the fray in the debate over the Open Skies Agreement.

According to the Partnership, more than two dozen Chambers of Commerce, economic and trade organizations from across the country have written letters to the Administration and Congress expressing renewed concern about the Gulf airlines.

The Partnership presented a 55-page report to the Obama administration in February that details alleged subsidies of $42 billion over 10 years given to Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines by the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Every international roundtrip flight lost by U.S. airlines to the subsidized Gulf carriers means 821 U.S. jobs lost, the group claims.

“The massive subsidies given to the Gulf carriers by their governments undermine free and fair competition and violate Open Skies policy,” Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, said in a statement. “The business owners, suppliers and employers in communities across the country understand the threat this issue poses to local economies and jobs. We welcome their support and echo their request for action.”

Business entities that sent letters to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and others include:

·         New York State Business Council

·         Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

·         Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

·         Detroit Regional Chamber

·         Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce

·         Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches

·         Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

·         Lake Superior Community Partnership

·         California Chamber of Commerce

·         Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

·         Georgia Chamber of Commerce

·         Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce

·         Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

·         North Texas Commission

·         Texas Association of Business

·         Illinois Chamber of Commerce

·         Michigan Chamber of Commerce

·         Queens Chamber of Commerce

·         Minnesota Business Partnership

·         Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce

·         Western Economic Council

·         Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce

·         Midway Chamber of Commerce

·         Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce

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