Saturday, 29 July 2017

USA: Enforce Open Skies Agreements House Committee Urges Trump Administration

House Appropriations Committee approved the annual Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill and report, which urges the Trump administration to explore the subsidization of three state-owned Gulf carriers – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – by the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

The bill also calls on the Trump Administration to work with these countries to properly enforce their Open Skies agreements with the United States.

In response to the committee’s approval, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies released the following statement:

“The House Appropriations Committee has sent a strong and clear message that the Gulf carriers’ government subsidies threaten American workers, undermine the U.S. aviation industry’s ability to compete and should not be ignored,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “For years, the Gulf carriers have received over $50 billion in subsidies from their government, distorting the aviation market and threatening over 1.2 million American jobs in the process. We are proud to stand with members of Congress in asking the Trump administration to enforce our Open Skies agreements and level the playing field in the aviation industry.”

In its report, the committee urges the administration to engage with the UAE and Qatar to address airline government subsidies and ensure that U.S. airlines and their workers have a fair and equal opportunity to compete.

The report also directs the administration to provide regular updates to the committee on their efforts. The text reads:

“the Department began an interagency process to solicit comment and explore whether foreign government subsidies received by some international carriers were resulting in market distortions. While the previous Administration initiated informal discussions with some foreign governments to address these subsidies, no conclusion was reached prior to the end of the Administration. The Committee strongly urges the Department to continue discussions to ensure that U.S. airline carriers and their workers have a fair and equal opportunity to compete in accordance with open skies agreements. The Committee directs the Department to provide regular updates to the Committee.”

Tourism Observer

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