Agreement Reached with UAE to
End Subsidies to Its State Owned Airlines
Earlier this week, the State Department reached an agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to end the massive subsidies to its state-owned airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways. The billions of dollars of subsidies the UAE has pumped into their airlines has long undercut the U.S. airline industry and harmed American workers. The agreement is similar to the one the U.S. reached with Qatar in January.
As part of the deal, the UAE acknowledged, for the first time, that government subsidies harm international competition. They also committed to change the way Emirates and Etihad Airways operate by shifting to internationally agreed upon and transparent accounting and auditing standards so they will not be able to hide their subsidies as they have in the past.The agreement also ensures that Emirates and Etihad Airways pay their fair share to operate out of their international airports. Until now, improvements to their terminals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai had also been subsidized by the UAE government.
Perhaps most importantly, Emirates and Etihad Airways said they will not begin any additional fifth freedom passenger flights to the United States. Fifth freedom flights allow airlines to carry passengers between two countries without stopping in the airline’s home country. When backed by unfair subsidies, this hurts our ability to compete. The agreement, however, did not include withdrawing from the fifth freedom routes that Emirates already operates, such as MXP—JFK and ATH—EWR.
Thanks to all APFA members who contributed by making calls, sending emails, tweeting at the White House, and attending our Open Skies Lobby Days over the last few years. We also extend our thanks to the 300+ members of Congress who supported our cause.
The UAE and the U.S. will meet in one year to review the progress of the terms of the agreement, and The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies will work closely with the State Department to ensure both the UAE and Qatar abide by the terms of the agreements so that fair competition is restored to the global aviation marketplace.
This is good news for Flight Attendants and good news for the industry. APFA is proud to stand with our brother and sister Unions in this fight to keep the competitive landscape level. When we compete fairly, we win.
APFA Interim National Government Affairs Representative