Photo: New Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. (Photo via Flickr/William Munoz)
On Thursday, it was revealed that the CEOs of the three largest airlines in the United States are looking to meet with new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in relation to the accusations that state-owned carriers in Gulf states are being unfairly subsidized.
According to Reuters.com, top executives from American Airlines Group, United Continental Holdings and Delta Air Lines asked for the meeting to discuss Gulf-state carriers allegedly driving down prices and crowding out competition on key routes.
The CEOs asked for the meeting in a letter posted on the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies website.
“We are writing to bring to your attention an issue of utmost importance to the future of our industry: the massive subsidization of three state-owned Gulf carriers – Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates – and the significant harm this subsidized competition is causing to U.S. airlines and U.S. jobs,” the letter read. “The Gulf carriers have received over $50 billion in documented subsidies from their government owners since 2004.”
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While the state-owned Gulf carriers deny the allegations of receiving subsidies from the government, several major airlines in the U.S. are looking to Tillerson to make sure other countries aren’t taking advantage of trade deals.
Other American carriers support working with Gulf-state airlines, including JetBlue Airways Corp, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Hawaiian Holdings and more, which started the U.S. Airlines for Open Skies Coalition.
Etihad Aviation Group CEO James Hogan and other executives are now waiting to see if new President Donald Trump reopens the Open Skies debate.
“We are not flying into any further points in the U.S.,” Hogan said Wednesday to local media. “We are very comfortable with our American network. In regards to how that's addressed moving forward, we have to wait and see.”