Statement by the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies on the 25th Anniversary of the First U.S. Open Skies Agreement

WASHINGTON, DC (July 10, 2017) – In recognition of the 25th anniversary of the first United States Open Skies agreement, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies released the following statement:

“As the United States commemorates the anniversary of its first Open Skies agreement, it is important to remember that the bilateral benefits of Open Skies policy depend on countries following the rules on fair competition – and on firm enforcement when countries refuse,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “The vast majority of these agreements are working as designed, opening markets for U.S. carriers and creating opportunities for workers of American companies. But two countries – the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – are breaking the rules by funneling tens of billions of dollars in unfair government subsidies to three Middle East airlines, distorting the international market and harming American workers. Before the next milestone anniversary, we hope the U.S. government will ensure all of the agreements are properly enforced and American workers are protected from trade cheaters.”

On Monday, July 10, the U.S. Department of State will host an event to mark these important aviation milestones. Since its 1992 agreement with the Netherlands, the United States has signed 121 Open Skies agreements with countries around the world. These agreements are intended to create a more open and balanced international aviation marketplace, and provide broad benefits to travelers and airlines alike.

With the exception of just two countries, these bilateral agreements have functions as intended. Since 2004, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have funneled more than $50 billion in subsidies to their state-owned airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – in violation of their Open Skies agreements with the United States. This trade cheating behavior threatens the foundations of the international aviation market and puts in jeopardy more than 1.2 million American jobs.