A website promoting open skies aviation agreements has been launched by The United States Travel Association.
The website has dubbed “Voices for Open Skies” and it’s a platform where one can find data that highlights the economic impact of the Gulf carriers – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – on the U.S. cities they operate to. The site boasts of quotes from business owners and travelers who claim they benefit when airlines are granted unfettered market access.
U.S. Travel’s position is opposite to U.S. legacy airlines Delta, American and United. The Big Three have long charged the Gulf carriers of receiving a combined $50 billion in state subsidies since 2004, in violation of bilateral aviation agreements between the U.S. and the UAE and Qatar. Consequently, the American carriers want to limit the growth of the Gulf carriers on U.S. routes.
Voices for Open Skies shows data indicating that the 1.7 million passengers who have arrived in the U.S. on Gulf carriers have paid a total of $7.8 billion, backing 114,000 American jobs. U.S. Travel also added that Gulf carriers’ fares are 32% lesser on routes where there are no restrictions on air service, producing $4 billion annually in passenger savings.
“Real workers have spoken out on the reason to support open skies: real jobs depend on it,” said U.S. Travel Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, Jonathan Grella.
“The big airlines working to break open skies have not proven an iota of harm, and, in fact, a wealth of evidence shows that tampering with open skies would damage jobs, travelers, small businesses and the U.S. trade balance.”