US carriers; American, Delta and United, reportedly lobbying the US government to alter or terminate its open skies agreement with Gulf carriers; Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have benefited from loans, tax exemptions and other support totaling $40 billion since 2004. The US airlines claim the state subsidies are in violation of America’s trade policy.
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark has hit back at allegations from America’s top three airlines. Clark questioned how American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines calculated that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways had received $40 billion worth of government subsidies and benefits, and ridiculed the complaining CEOs after they publicly called for the US to copy Dubai’s pro-aviation growth policies.
Clark said changing the open skies agreement, which allows Emirates to fly to any point in the US from its Dubai hub, “makes absolutely no sense. And this at a time when the overarching requirements of the Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus requires relationships to be cemented, not fractured.”
“We have never received financial subsides or bailouts. We did receive start-up capital of $10 million in 1985 and a one-time infrastructure investment of $88 million for two Boeing 727 aircraft and a training building,” he said in the statement emailed to Gulf News.
“This investment has been more than repaid by dividend payments to the government of Dubai, which total over $2.8 billion to date,” he added.
“As far as the airline industry is concerned, aero-political protection for airlines is arguably the biggest subsidy of all,” Clark said in a statement sent to Arabian Business.
Source: Arabian Business, Gulf News