By Alexander Cornwell, Staff Reporter www.gulfnews.com
Dubai: Emirates airline President Tim Clark, refuting claims by America’s biggest carriers that the major Gulf airlines benefit from billions in state subsidies, said on Wednesday the US government should not be persuaded by a “non-representative vocal minority”.
American, Delta and United, reportedly lobbying the US government to alter or terminate its open skies agreement with Gulf states, allege Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have benefited from loans, tax exemptions and other support totaling $40 billion (Dh147 billion) since 2004. The US airlines claim the state subsidies are in violation of America’s trade policy.
Clark said changing the open skies agreement, which allows Emirates to fly to any point in the US from its Dubai hub, “makes absolutely no sense. And this at a time when the overarching requirements of the Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus requires relationships to be cemented, not fractured.”
Etihad Airways declined to comment on Wednesday on the US carrier claims. Qatar Airways did not respond to a request to comment.
Clark questioned how the three US airlines, which he mentioned had all benefited from the US’ chapter 11 bankruptcy law that allowed them to restructure and cut costs, reached the $40 billion figure. More info