Emirates President Coming To America To Plead Case
Tim Clark is Coming To America.
Hot on the heels of a 55-page report made public Thursday by the three major U.S. domestic airlines asking the Obama Administration to amend or repeal the Open Skies Agreement, the Emirates Airline president told the Wall Street Journal he will hold high-level meetings with U.S. government officials later this month to plead his case that Middle East Gulf carriers are not receiving government subsidies that create an unfair advantage.
“We need to get a measure of the threat,” Clark said.
Clark said neither Emirates, Etihad nor Qatar airlines have fully digested the report, made public for the first time on Thursday when the CEOs of American, Delta and United airlines spoke at the National Press Club in Washington.
The trio said that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar have received $42 billion in subsidies from their respective governments since 2004, making it difficult for the U.S. carriers to compete on lucrative trans-Atlantic routes.
"The subsidies are obvious and they are massive," attorney David Ross, counsel at WilmerHale, said in explaining the 55-page report at the National Press Club. "We really are in the crosshairs."
The Gulf airlines have previously said this isn’t about subsidies but rather simple customer service, which they suggest U.S. carriers are in short supply of.
“We would very much like to have the opportunity to read the report and defend ourselves,” Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said.
The Business Travel Coalition and the U.S. Travel Association, along with JetBlue Airways, have previously denounced the calls by the domestic carriers to revamp the Open Skies Agreement, which allows airlines to set their own routes without government interference.
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