FedEx and Atlas join coalition to back Middle East carriers in US subsidy row
04 / 08 / 2015
FedEx and Atlas Air have joined up with two other US carriers to create the US Airlines for Open Skies Coalition, in support of Middle East Gulf airlines who have been accused of distorting competition via state subsidies.
US-based parcels giant FedEx and lessor Atlas have joined forces with JetBlue Airways and Hawaiian Holdings to form the coalition to oppose the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, headed by US carriers American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Continental and seven airline unions.
American, Delta and United argue that Middle East carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have benefited from $42bn in state handouts, something the trio have vigorously denied in an increasingly bitter public row.
The North American trio have called on the US government to review the Open Skies policy that authorised commercial flights between the US, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates over a decade ago.
"We thought it was important that the government understand that there are many different voices in this choir," JetBlue’s general counsel, James Hnat, told Reuters, in announcing a letter from the group to the Obama administration.
The letter comes just hours before the US government closes a public comment period asking for views on whether Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have dumped capacity and pushed competitors out of key market over the past decade, via the state subsidies.
In June this year, FedEx warned Washington that its global parcels business is being “put at risk” by the simmering row over alleged state subsidies paid to Middle East Gulf carriers.