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Protest as US airlines threaten Emirates with Trump

March 14, 2017 Headline News 3 Comments Email Email

About 200 United Airlines employees staged an airport demonstration on Sunday to protest the start of a new service by Emirates between the US and Greece, which United considers unfair competition.

The airport was Newark Liberty. The protest, which was encouraged by United, was the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter dispute between America’s big three airlines (American, Delta, and United) and the prime trio of Middle East mega-carriers: Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways.

The US airlines, under the auspices of an organisation called Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, have called on US President Donald Trump to intervene on their side.

The US airlines allege that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar each receive subsidies from their home governments. It’s a charge the three Gulf carriers emphatically deny, but the long-running dispute continues to simmer.

United, Delta and American say the alleged subsidies violate the Open Skies agreements the Middle Eastern carriers entered into as a condition of conducting business in the US.

A media release circulated by Partnership for Open and Fair Skies just before the new Emirates flight landed at Newark said: “To date, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have received more than US$50 billion in documented subsidies, putting US carriers at a competitive disadvantage.”

United workers stage demonstration at Newark

Chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, Jill Zuckman, said: “It’s crystal clear that the US airlines and their employees are looking to President Trump to enforce our international agreements with the trade cheaters of the UAE and Qatar.

“We have 1.2 million quality American jobs that are being threatened by foreign government subsidies and we need President Trump’s help to protect these jobs.”

Twenty-five members of Congress from New Jersey and New York sent a letter to President Trump last week asking him to stop Emirates from flying between Athens and Newark and to enforce the US Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar. The letter stated, “Foreign governments that violate their agreements with the United States need to be held accountable.”

The organisation claims that US carriers have offered as many as three non-stop flights per day on the Newark-Athens route at times of the year when demand can support non-stop service.

“The market to Athens is highly seasonal and in the winter months only about 100 passengers per day on average fly between the two cities each way – far too few to make a nonstop flight viable for a market-based airline. This indicates that a flight year round is not viable for a profit-driven airline.

“Every time a heavily subsidised Gulf carrier subsequently forces a US carrier off a route, 1500 American jobs are lost. Gulf carriers to the United States do not bring new travellers; they take customers away from US carriers.”

According to Partnership for Open and Fair Skies: “When a Gulf carrier enters a new US market, passenger bookings for international itineraries on US carriers and their joint venture partners declined an average of 21.4% in Seattle, 14.3% in Washington, D.C., 13.3% in Orlando, 13.1% in San Francisco, 8.8% in Chicago, 10.8% in Boston and 7.6% in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“On another route between JFK and Milan, Emirates’ market share has risen to more than 28% since it entered that route in 2013. Fares on the route have declined sharply, according to US data.”

The new Emirates flight between Newark and Greece uses a B777-300ER, offering 8 first-class seats, 42 business-class, and 304 economy seats.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Gimme a break. At least start complaining about routes you actually fly. How can they complain about EK wanting to fly a route that no US carrier wants to fly? Emirates is now offering a convenient nonstop daily 777 from Newark to Athens. The best the Yanks can offer is a United connection through Munich which is 3 1/2 hours longer and is only a codeshare on Lufthansa metal. Ever since the demise of Pan Am and TWA, US carriers have given abysmal international route coverage, based on their unswerving belief that everyone in the world wants to come to America. Poor service on old aircraft with surly staff was the norm. Pick up your own act and you might be able to worry less about the competition.

  2. Ken says:

    Service on US airlines is shit, the middle east airlines are 10x better plus they hire yanks in the US ports so if they are not able to fly then those employee’s will out of a job.

  3. Mannix says:

    US carriers – lift your game.Sore losers.

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