Qatar Airways submits formal document to U.S. on subsidies row
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United have accused state-owned Qatar Airways, along with Emirates and Etihad, of receiving unfair government subsidies
Qatar Airways has submitted a formal “white paper” document to the U.S. government refuting the subsidy allegations levelled against it by three of the largest American carriers, Gulf Business reported.
American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United have accused state-owned Qatar Airways, along with Emirates and Etihad, of receiving unfair government subsidies worth $42 bln.
The American carriers, and a coalition of other groups, have demanded their government to renegotiate its Open Skies agreement with Qatar and the Emirates to determine the frequency and capacity of flights.
All of the three Gulf Arab carriers have denied the allegations.
“It is puzzling to see the biggest U.S. carriers describe Qatar Airways as a “threat,” given our small size and lack of direct competition with them. Their long-standing focus on other markets, and large (and growing) profits completely undercut this claim,” said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker in a statement carried on the airline’s website.
“We are concerned to see the Big 3 seek to change the rules of the game as soon as they see US consumers respond well to the services offered by a competitor,” Baker added
In its report, Qatar Airways said that many of the market changes complained by the U.S. airlines are not the product of “unfair competition” or anything related to subsidies.
“With ultra-long range B777 and B787 aircraft, passengers bound for the Middle East and India can now over-fly congested European hubs and enjoy convenient one-stop services to their destinations, instead of making longer two-and three stop journeys,” the airline said.
Qatar Airways has said that its operations to the U.S. have “significantly contributed” to the U.S. economy in terms of jobs, cargo and overall passenger traffic. It has 162 aircraft flying to 150 destinations, of which over 40 per cent are Boeing jets worth over $19 bln.