9 NOVEMBER 2015
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Airlines in the US are attacking what they say are unfair subsidies being paid to Middle East carriers for forcing them off key routes, despite the Open Skies agreement between the countries.
Delta Air Lines has now reacted by saying it is dropping its Atlanta – Dubai B777 service from 11 February. The carrier said the aircraft would be used in other transatlantic markets “where competition is not distorted by subsidised state-owned carriers.”
American Airlines, Delta and United formed a “Partnership for Open & Fair Skies” in June, asking the US Government to enforce the Open Skies agreement, which they claim is weighted in favour of Gulf carriers. Delta says Gulf carriers benefit from subsidies of some US$42bn. The airline said: “Between 2008 and 2014, about 11,000 daily seats were added between the US and Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi – more than 95% of which are flown by Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar and Etihad airlines.”
Middle East carriers deny the Open Skies deal is weighted in their favour. Akbar Al-Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways, says that US airlines are trying to block competition and limit consumer choice. www.delta.com
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