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Airline executives laud Trump administration’s arrangement with Qatar over subsidies

Airline executives and labor groups heaped praise on the agreement that was reached between the Trump administration and Qatar geared towards resolving a dispute over alleged unfair subsidies.

“Today’s agreement by the State of Qatar is a strong first step in a process for commercial transparency and accountability, and we remain committed to working with the administration to address the harmful trade violations by the United Arab Emirates as well,” relayed Delta CEO, Ed Bastian.

He added:

“We are grateful to the Trump administration for working to restore a level playing field for the U.S. aviation industry and to the tens of thousands of Delta people who have made their voices heard in an effort to protect millions of American jobs and put an end to unfair competition.”

The plaudits arrived after the US State Department disclosed that it had forged an agreement with Qatar to tackle a long-standing row over alleged state subsidies Qatar Airways had been receiving.

The agreement compels Qatar to publicly reveal its financial transactions and join in on an external audit in a bid to promote transparency, said the State Department.

The US aviation industry has long been up in arms over what they claim to be subsidies that Qatar’s government pumps into Qatar Airways. They allege that this is in violation of the international Open Skies Agreement and creates unfair competition.

“Billions of dollars’ worth of subsidies later, it’s nice to know that at least one of the ME3 airlines is maneuvering toward a level playing field,” said Captain Dan Care, the President of the Allied Pilots Association, said in a statement.

The administration made the agreement public during the U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue meeting between Defense Secretary James Mattis, State Department Secretary Rex Tillerson and both the Qatari foreign and defense ministers.

“Qatar is a strong partner and a longtime friend of the United States,” Tillerson remarked.

“We value the U.S.-Qatar relationship and hope the talks today deepen our strategic ties.”

The CEOs of both American Airlines and United also celebrated the agreement, saying it would protect U.S. workers and their jobs.

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