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After accepting a new role as Chief Spokesman for the Partnership for Fair and Open Skies, former Assistant to the Secretary and Director of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Jill Zuckman, echoed the organizations stance that Gulf carriers receive unfair subsidies from their governments in violation of the spirit and intent of established Open Skies agreements.
The Partnership for Open & Fair and Open Skies is a coalition of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and four labor unions, whose stated aim is “to restore a level playing field to international air travel.” The partnership asked the Obama Administration to review issues surrounding established Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
“The governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are subsidizing their state-owned airlines by a staggering amount of money,” said Zuckman in a published statement. “As the CEOs of Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline arrive in Washington this week, they have a lot of explaining to do. They need to explain how it is they have received more than $42 billion in subsidies and other unfair benefits from their governments over the past 10 years. And they need to open their books since they say they have nothing to hide. Open Skies is based on fair, market-based competition – not a rigged game.”
Zuckman served at the DOT under Secretary Ray LaHood, who has previously lent his support to U.S. Carriers and labor groups in objections to Norwegian Air International’s own Open Skies application.
The Partnership called on the Obama Administration to put a freeze on new passenger service by Gulf Carriers while the matter is under review.
More coverage of the ongoing Open Skies debate on Skift:
- U.S. Airlines Vs. Gulf Carriers: What Open Skies Battle Means for Consumers
- U.S. Airlines Reveal Evidence They Say Proves Gulf Carriers Get Unfair Subsidies
- Etihad Brings its Fancy Dreamliner to Washington, D.C. for Open Skies Battle
- U.S. Airport Group Sides Against Airlines in Open Skies Battle