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US-UAE council to US airlines: Stop moaning, start competing

UAE airlines are the biggest international buyers of US-manufactured commercial aircrafts and engines.

By Staff

The Big Three US airlines should “stop complaining and start competing” as they’re putting $19 billion (Dh70 billion) trade surplus at stake that the US enjoys in bilateral trade with the UAE, said President of the US-UAE Business Council.

“With a $19-billion trade surplus at stake, US officials should stand with virtually every single stakeholder in US commercial aviation, such as US airports, travel and hospitality companies, business travellers and cargo airlines, and resist any efforts to limit free trade or restrict Open Skies agreements with the UAE,” said Danny Sebright.

“The Big 3 missed the biggest shift in global travel trends with the rapid growth of travel to, in, and between emerging markets in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and now, on account of mistakes of their own doing, the Big 3 are looking to blame Gulf carriers,” he said.

A 2014 Business Council report on the US-UAE commercial aviation relationship, US-UAE Commercial Aviation Update: Flying Higher, details over $130 billion in sales of Boeing aircraft at the 2013 Dubai Air Show by UAE carriers.

This White Paper was an update to the 2013 report, US-UAE Commercial Aviation: Taking Flight, which identified more than $16 billion in annual benefits to the US, supporting more than 100,000 jobs and generating over $1.6 billion in tax revenue.

Both reports reflect that the UAE has been the largest US export destination in the broader Middle East for the last six years.

Dubai-based Emirates airline said in last week that it contributed €6.8 billion euros (Dh28 billion) to the European economy and supported 126,000 jobs across the European Union in 2013-14.

“UAE airlines are the biggest international buyers of US-manufactured commercial aircrafts and engines, with over 400 airplane deliveries and orders in the last 15 years,” said Sebright.

“And with 252 non-stop flights a week to the US, UAE airlines are bringing millions of visitors a year to cities across America, filling local airports, hotels, attractions, and restaurants. Emirates and Etihad also feed hundreds of thousands of connecting passengers a year to US airlines,” he added.

“Before claiming government support for international competitors, the Big 3 may first want to check their own balance sheets. Since 2006, the Big 3 transferred billions of dollars of pension liabilities directly to Uncle Sam while leaving creditors holding the bag for billions more through multiple bankruptcies.

“They received billions in cash payments and guaranteed loans in a direct government bailout while enjoying the advantages of antitrust immunity to fix transatlantic fares with their European partners. If that weren’t enough, as a result of Fly America, the Big 3 also benefit from the exclusion of any international competition in the US government market – the world’s largest,” Sebright noted.