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The chief executives of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in September, stepping up efforts to convince Washington that the fast-expanding Gulf carriers pose an existential threat to the US airline industry.
Banding together with United Airlines and several trade unions under the so-called Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, they accuse Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways of receiving $42 billion in state subsidies over the past decade.
The alleged handouts – documented in a 55-page dossier released by the US lobbyists in March – may contravene the terms of the Open Skies agreements that America has signed with the UAE and Qatar. Those bilateral treaties allow the Gulf carriers to launch unlimited flights to the US mainland, but only if they operate on a commercial basis free from government support...