MIAMI — Qatar Airways (QR) has submitted a “White Paper” to the United States Government, refuting the allegations of subsidy leveled against it by American, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines (also known as the Big Three U.S. Carriers).
The submission comprised by a 84-page report, addresses and answers all issues raised by the Big Three U.S. Carriers, which have been pressing the U.S. Government to impose limits on the services operated by Gulf airlines: Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad. According to Qatar Airways, the measure would put into question the long-standing US policy of allowing carriers to fly to and from the United States with minimal government interference.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, commented “The US Government should reject calls to “freeze” the US-Qatar Open Skies Agreement, and recognize these allegations for what they are – a transparent attempt by the U.S. Big 3 to block air services that compete with their own.”
In the report, Qatar Airways states that most of the market changes alleged by US Carriers are not the product of unfair competition or subsidies. Instead, the airline attributes such changes to “the byproduct of advances in aircraft technology and significant demographic changes.”
“With ultra-long range Boeing 777 and 787 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.
QR GCEO Al Baker further stated “There has been significant demand for our services from the U.S. not just to the Middle East – but beyond – where no other carriers fly. This makes us a natural choice for consumers, and is a reflection of how globalized our world has become. People are traveling further than ever before and it is important that in an economy focused on open market principles, our wings remain open for business, rather than closed.”
Qatar Airways also accused the US carriers of receiving government subsidies and favorable US policies and support.
“It is puzzling to see the biggest US 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.” Al Baker added.
“The Open Skies model was developed by the American carriers and has demonstrated how an Open Skies paves the way for an open economy. 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. Qatar Airways is proud of its signature five-star service, brand identity, and the high standards we deliver to our passengers onboard.”