Partnership for Open & Fair Skies Responds to Etihad’s Misleading Announcement on U.S. Growth

Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2017) – In response to Etihad Chief Executive Officer James Hogan’s reported pledge to not fly to additional U.S. destinations, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies issued the following statement:

“Etihad has spent a decade using billions of dollars of subsidies to create massive over-capacity and push U.S. airlines out of the Middle East and India. This meaningless pledge will not stop Etihad from continuing to add subsidy-fueled flights to the U.S. markets they already serve. The truth is, Etihad would not be commercially viable without its subsidies,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies. “And all three Gulf carriers have flooded the United States with a 47 percent expansion in their routes here. The latest insult to injury is Emirates’ decision to fly from Athens to Newark, again breaking the Open Skies agreement between the UAE and the United States on just the third day of Donald Trump’s presidency.”

“Hogan appears to think that the United States should be willing to accept the status quo and just move on. He’s wrong. The United States should not tolerate this rule-breaking, bad behavior by the UAE and Qatar that hurts U.S. airlines and costs American jobs.”

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies has documented over $50 billion in government subsidies received by Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways from their Gulf state owners, in violation of Open Skies agreements. The subsidies harm the U.S. aviation industry and hard-working Americans. In fact, for every international flight that U.S. airlines are forced to close due to subsidy-fueled Gulf carrier expansion, economists estimate that over 1,500 American jobs are lost.