Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Continue Fight to Protect U.S. Airlines and Their Workers from Unfair Competition (September 30, 2015)
Reps. Dan Lipinski (IL-3), Robert Dold (IL-10), Paul Cook (CA-8), Tom Emmer (MN-6), Steve Israel (NY-3), and Frank Pallone (NJ-6) are asking Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx for a meeting to discuss protecting U.S.airlines and their workers from unfair competition from government-subsidized Persian Gulf carriers.
Earlier this year, this bipartisan group was joined by 256 colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a letter to the Department of Transportation urging timely consultations with the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to address the subsidized capacity that their state-owned airlines – Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Emirates – are deploying to the United States, in direct violation of U.S. Open Skies policy.
“As the public comment period is now officially closed, it is time for your agency to swiftly address these trade violations,” said the members in their most recent letter to Secretary Foxx. “We formally request a meeting with you to discuss the threats posed by the subsidized Gulf carriers to the U.S. airline industry and to U.S. workers' jobs.”
Contrary to the goals of Open Skies policy, Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad airlines have received $42 billion in subsidies and unfair benefits from their governments, flouting the good faith inherent in these international treaties and undermining the principles of open competition.
Through the docket submission process, additional evidence has surfaced that the Gulf carriers’ entry into the United States is causing significant harm to the U.S. aviation industry and the hundreds of thousands of workers it supports. Instead of stimulating demand, the subsidies and unfair benefits are allowing the Gulf carriers to take away passengers from domestic carriers, hurting service to cities across the country.
“Failure to confront these actions will set a dangerous precedent for future trade agreements with other nations, and will lead to significant job losses and cuts in airline service in the United States,” stated the members in their letter to Secretary Foxx. “It is our hope that a meeting with you will allow for a better understanding of Congress’s concerns and the timely need for consultations with Qatar and the UAE, as provided for in the bilateral aviation agreements.”