Partnership for Open & Fair Skies Statement on Planned New Air Italy Routes

Washington, D.C. (May 9, 2019) – In response to reports that Qatar Airways-backed Air Italy plans to launch additional flights to North America next year, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies released the following statement:

“While the Trump administration successfully negotiated an agreement last year designed to end Qatar’s Open Skies violations, the ink was barely dry before Qatar began to carve out a loophole. This newest announcement from Air Italy is just the latest in a string of trade violations by the government of Qatar designed to damage U.S. businesses and hurt American workers,” said Scott Reed, managing partner for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “There is bipartisan concern that Qatar Airways is using its government-subsidized investment in Air Italy to launch proxy routes into the United States, breaking the terms of last year’s deal. Simply put, the only reason a failing airline like Air Italy can continue to launch new routes without consumer demand is because of Qatari government dollars designed to fuel unchecked growth.”

Air Italy’s announcement comes shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to stand up for American jobs against trade violations, like those by Qatar, telling The Hill that “we need to make sure these commitments continue to be honored and the Trump administration will endeavor to make sure every commitment made by every party of that agreement will continue to be honored and enforced.”

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.