Statement on Outdated Aviation Industry Claims

Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, issued the following statement today in response to media reports on an outdated paper examining the U.S. aviation industry:

“It is laughable that a two-decade-old unpublished paper examining U.S. aviation since 1918 is being trumpeted as ‘evidence’ that U.S. airlines are supported the way that the United Arab Emirates and Qatar routinely subsidize their airlines.

“This is a case of distract and dissemble. Funding for air mail, Post Office support, and the National Weather Service is a far cry from the well-documented $42 billion dollars in direct subsidies and other unfair state support the Middle East carriers receive.

“Even more preposterous, the vast majority of the so-called subsidy includes the entire annual budgets for the Federal Aviation Administration from 1958 to 1998 and the cost of building air traffic control towers decades ago. Calling FAA funding a subsidy for commercial airlines is akin to calling paved roads and traffic lights a subsidy for the taxi industry. In fact, U.S. airlines send billions of dollars to the federal government every year to cover the cost of aviation services.

“It is a shame that the U.S. Travel Association and the Business Travel Coalition are acting at the behest of funders friendly to the Middle East carriers and their governments, rather than in the best interests of American jobs, consumers and companies.

“It is time to ensure U.S. airlines and their workers are operating on a level playing field with their state-funded competitors in the Middle East. U.S. airlines shouldn’t have to compete with the treasuries of foreign governments who offer their state-owned carriers blank checks.”