Partnership for Open & Fair Skies Statement on New Air Italy Routes to San Francisco and Los Angeles

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 6, 2018) – In response to the news that Air Italy, backed by illegal government subsidies from state-owned Qatar Airways, will launch two new routes from Milan to San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies released the following statement:

“With the announcement of new routes from Air Italy to the U.S., fueled by money from Qatar Airways, the government of Qatar has demonstrated a stunning lack of respect for President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo,” said Scott Reed, campaign manager for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “Qatar Airways has received over $25 billion in documented subsidies from its government owner, in violation of the Open Skies agreement with the U.S. When the Trump administration negotiated an agreement with Qatar earlier this year to protect American jobs and restore fair competition to international aviation, the Qatari government agreed that its state-owned airline would not launch future ‘fifth freedom’ flights to the U.S. By exploiting its investment in Air Italy to create a loophole and dodge this pledge, Qatar has violated this agreement and the trust of the United States. What is now clear is that Qatar Airways has no intention of playing by the rules and of working cooperatively with the American government. We expect the Trump administration will take strong action and stand up for American workers in response to these violations.”

This week, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) led a group of 11 U.S. senators in sending a letter to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross raising concerns that the Qatari government is violating its Open Skies agreement with the U.S. through its Air Italy investment. The full letter can be read here.

Background on Partnership for Open & Fair Skies

The Partnership for Open & Fair Skies is a coalition that includes American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, along with the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the Communications Workers of America, and the Airline Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Partnership is calling for the United States to enforce its Open Skies agreements with the UAE and Qatar, which have pumped more than $50 billion in subsidies to their state-owned airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. In January 2015, the Partnership published a white paper providing a comprehensive overview and analysis of this issue.

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