US State Dept says Gulf carrier talks not over

The US government says talks over allegations the three major Gulf carriers are violating the US’ open skies policy have not finished.

  
Participants of Gulf Central Banks Governors meeting gather in Riyadh

Participants of Gulf Central Banks Governors meeting gather in Riyadh

REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

Dubai: The US government says talks over allegations the three major Gulf carriers are violating the US’ open skies policy have not finished.

The clarification comes after a media report, quoting a US State Department spokesperson, said the US government would not be taking any action.

The State Department refuted that report late on Tuesday, telling Gulf News its “discussions with carriers are ongoing.”

The US State Department said it met with Emirati officials on July 18 and Qatari officials on July 25 after US airlines America, Delta and United alleged Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were unfairly state subsidised. The Gulf carriers have denied the claims.

“The U.S. government takes seriously the concerns raised by some of our airlines. We have decided to address these concerns through informal, technical discussions that are ongoing,” the State Department said in an email.

“We are carefully and thoroughly reviewing the claims by some U.S. carriers that the Gulf carriers (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways) are benefitting from government subsidies that are distorting the market, as well as differing views from other stakeholders and members of the public.”

It is understood that the Gulf carriers did not participate in the government-to-government discussions.

The allegations, known as the Open Skies debate, centre around claims Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have collectively received $42 billion in subsidies from their Gulf government owners. The US carriers had asked for the US government to enter into negotiations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and freeze access to the Gulf airlines.

But the allegations, which started more than 18 months ago, have mostly fizzled out and Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have continued to expand into the US. On Tuesday, Etihad announced it would add capacity on its Abu Dhabi-New York route with a second daily Airbus A380 service from June, 2017.

by Alexander Cornwell Staff Reporter

Gulf News 2016. All rights reserved.


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