Gulf Airlines Gain Ally in US Justice Department
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Although its involvement has previously gone a bit under the radar, the US Department of Justice has weighed in on efforts by the Partnership For Open and Fair Skies to push out Gulf carriers – and the results aren’t quite what you may have expected.
If this sounds like deja-vu all over again, you’re not wrong; allegations of price collusion by American, Delta and United against Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airlines were presented by the DOJ this summer. And now, in the wake of US carriers crying foul at the $42 billion in subsidies that these airlines have taken from their home governments, violating aviation agreements previously signed by the two regions, the DOJ has appeared in headlines again.
The DOJ doesn’t really have a say in the matter, which is now being looked into by the US departments of transportation, state and commerce. But that didn’t stop them from tsk-tsking the Partnership for asking that the government limit flights of three Middle Eastern rivals to the United States.
As Reuters reports, the DOJ “must evaluate the broader public interest at stake, not merely the financial impact on U.S. aviation.” That’s government-speak for “quit yer bitchin’, US carriers.”
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar can’t help being a billion times more awesome than United, American and Delta. Rather than work on drastic improvements, the top-three US airlines are taking a legal approach, which, ultimately, could end up causing them more harm than good.