Airline executives praise Trump administration's agreement with Qatar over subsidies

A Qatar A350-900XWB in Munich

As part of the agreement, Qatar has committed to operate in a transparent manner by using internationally agreed upon accounting and auditing standards and applying commercial terms to all transactions. Under the scenario US airlines fear, Qatar Airways could offer flights from its Doha hub to, say, Paris or London, stop to pick up more passengers, then fly on to NY.

In December, the Trump administration made a decision to pursue informal talks with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in lieu of renegotiating open-skies deals or taking punitive action against the states and their airlines.

"The outcome we achieve will ensure a level playing field in the global aviation market", Tillerson said during a press conference Tuesday. "We are extremely appreciative of the president and his administration for their dogged determination to enforce USA trade agreements and stand up for American jobs".

A white paper issued by USA airlines in 2015 said Qatar had given more than $17 billion in subsidies to Qatar Airways, although airlines have since revised upward the estimates for the Gulf carriers - possibly as high as $25 billion.

"This would be a landmark milestone for the American airline industry that will protect our workers and ensure that our foreign competitors play by the rules and do not undermine our worldwide agreements", said Peter Carter, chief legal officer of Delta Air Lines.

Oscar Munoz, chief executive of United, adds in his own statement: "We applaud this agreement and thank the administration for effectively representing the interests of the American aviation industry".

American and Qatar Airways had worked together prior to the current subsidies row.

The United States and Qatar on Tuesday inked a deal to resolve a years-old quarrel over alleged airline subsidies, as Qatar's government works to defuse tensions with the Trump administration.

The two UAE airlines — Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways — aren't a party to the U.S. -Qatar agreement. The U.S. airlines called for a halt to more flights from those countries until the subsidies ended.

Association of Professional Flight Attendants National President Bob Ross said: “This is the first crack in the unity of the three Gulf carriers and confirms that they are not in lockstep when it comes to undermining U.S.jobs.

American will drop Qatar Airways, as well as Etihad, as a codeshare partner on 24 March. The Gulf carriers have always denied the accusation.

"I think Qatar Airways will successfully be able to reopen the once strong working relationship it had with American and, potentially, securing feed between Qatar Airways and American at key airports", says Henry Harteveldt, president and travel industry analyst at the Atmosphere Research Group, on today's accord. This is a long overdue step in the enforcement of our Open Skies agreements.”. The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies has been working with the United States government for close to three years to address the subsidies issue.

"In short, there is little if any impact on either Emirates or Etihad Airways", Ahmad said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will announce the arrangement on January 30, following weeks of negotiation among the State Department, White House and Qatar.

The accord announced today operates within the existing open skies framework between Qatar and the U.S., the US State Department says.

The "Open Skies" flight agreement, which liberalises commercial and cargo air travel, remains intact between the two countries.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies has been working with the USA government for close to three years to address the more than $50 billion in rule breaking subsidies the Gulf carriers receive from the UAE and Qatar.

United, Delta and American Airlines have long called for the USA government to review Open Skies agreements that allow Gulf carriers to fly freely from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to any US destination.

The Partnership is calling for the United States to enforce its Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar, which have pumped more than $50 billion in subsidies to their state-owned airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

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