It’s been raging for years the US Big3 arguing over the Gulf States ME3, Qatar, Etihad and Emirates.
The US airlines said the ME3 were subsidised and got unfair support. The ME3 argues the Americans got easy terms through Chapter 11 bankruptcy that were just as unfair.
Qatar signed an agreement earlier this year that was frankly laughable, the Americans got audited books – which were already available – and a letter stating that no more fifth freedom flights (say Qatar to Athens then to New York), were planned. The italics are important- Qatar never said it wouldn’t create more – it said it planned no more at the time of the agreement.
At the time there wasn’t anyone with a modicum of common sense who couldn’t see the whole agreement was just nonsense, giving the US airline industry something to shout about how it had won, without actually winning anything of substance.
It will come as no surprise that the agreement with the United Arab Emirates over Abu Dhabi and Etihad, and Dubai and Emirates is exactly the same.
Everything carries on as normal. They won’t be doing anything they’re not already doing. It won’t suddenly see US airlines flying to ME3 destinations again, it doesn’t stop Emirates existing Fifth Freedom flights to Athens and Milan then to New York.
It doesn’t stop direct flights to new US cities, it in effect changes nothing whatsoever. But it does shut down the verbal abuse that’s been flying for the past three years.
Few things truly demonstrate how weak the United States negotiating position is in situations like this, when there is no genuine justification for what’s being claimed. US airlines should be ashamed of themselves, they cried wolf out of their own failures to compete and to protect their own skins. The ME3 are wise enough to let them look like they’ve gained something, when all they got was an empty box.