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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

'Big Three' form coalition to fight Gulf airlines in Open Skies row

Analysis: The hidden cost of flying

The ‘big three’ US carriers have formed a coalition to “restore a level playing field” under the Open Skies agreement, which they claim is weighted in favour of the Gulf airlines.

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies coalition by United Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines is calling on the US government to “address the flow of subsidised Gulf carrier capacity to the States”.

It is also asking seeking a temporary block on new US-bound services by Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.

A statement said: "The partnership is asking the US government to use provisions in open skies agreements to begin talks with Qatar and the UAE to address the unfair competition that distorts market conditions.

"In the meantime, the coalition is asking for new service to US markets by the Gulf carriers to be frozen."

The formation of the coalition follows comments from Etihad and Qatar which has seen both airlines ask the US government to end the Open Skies row highlighting the benefits they bring to the US economy. They also deny claims the agreements allow unfair competition.

Alongside the three airlines the coalition includes: Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Communications Workers of America and the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association.

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