As the rhetoric heats up between the top three American and Persian Gulf-based carriers over competition and alleged abuses of government subsidies, FedEx and Boeing have stepped into the war of words to defend the use of open skies agreements between the carriers.
Earlier this month, representatives from legacy carriers American, Delta and United met with U.S. administration officials to express their discontent with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, complaining that these “Big Three” Gulf carriers have been getting an unfair advantage by receiving US$40 billion in government subsidies from their home countries of United Arab Emirates and Qatar since 2004.
In retaliation, the U.S. carriers proposed action to alter the government’s current open skies agreements with the Gulf carriers to limit their ability to operate in the U.S. market.
The actions of the U.S. airlines raised the ire of FedEx and Boeing. The Gulf carriers’ orders from Boeing have been robust, mainly because of the open skies agreements they have negotiated. FedEx pointed out to government officials that the air cargo industry is an essential component of a rebounding American economy that would be impossible without the use of open skies agreements.
“The connectivity we provide for U.S. businesses, both small and large, is critical for their global expansion,” said David Bronczek, president and CEO of FedEx Express in a powerful letter sent to the U.S. secretaries of State, Transportation and Commerce.