Partnership for Open & Fair Skies Adds Another Ally
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What’s the old saying? There’s strength in numbers?
If that’s true, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies continues to stockpile support in its battle to convince the Obama Administration to revisit terms of the Open Skies Agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The Partnership on Thursday added the Transport Workers Union (TWU), AFL-CIO, into the coalition. In addition to the three major domestic airlines – American, Delta and United – protesting the rapid rise and alleged unfair market practices of Middle East Gulf airlines, the advocacy group now includes the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Association of Flight Attendants, the Communications Workers of America, and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“We are excited to welcome the Transport Workers Union to the Partnership,” Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, said in a statement. “TWU understands that the massive subsidies provided to the Gulf carriers are jeopardizing American jobs and the economy.”
The Partnership presented a White Paper, "Restoring Open Skies: The Need to Address Subsidized Competition from State-own Airlines in Qatar and the UAE," to the U.S. government in February. It called on the Obama Administration to open consultations under the Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to address the flow of subsidized capacity to the U.S. alleging that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines have received a combined $42 billion in the last 10 years.
The group wants a freeze on new passenger service during the consultations.
“It’s not just hundreds of thousands of airline employees who will pay the price if the Gulf carriers are allowed to continue violating the Open Skies agreements,” Zuckman said. “These workers and the U.S. airlines drive more than $1.4 trillion in economic activity and more than 11 million American jobs. TWU and the other members of the Partnership are asking the U.S. government to open consultations with Qatar and United Arab Emirates and to seek a freeze on new Gulf carrier capacity while those talks take place. Otherwise, the increasingly enormous subsidies that Qatar and the UAE are providing to their state-owned airlines will harm U.S. consumers and businesses.”
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