The USB3 – Delta, United and American have pressed their senators – 11 in total, all Republican, to request an investigation of Qatar Airways over flights from Milan, Italy, operated by Air Italy. Qatar owns 49% of the airline.
Air Italy operates from Milan on five routes already operated by guess who? American, Delta and United, as well as Alitalia which Delta has both potential ownership interest in and is a member of its Skyteam alliance.
The airlines are accusing Qatar of operating Fifth Freedom flights via Air Italy by subsidising its operations – even though it only owns under European law, the maximum 49% of the airline.
The specific claim is that Air Italy can’t afford to compete on already busy routes unless Qatar is subsidising it and routing its own passengers via the airline.
Yet again the airlines try to bully Qatar, and no doubt egged on in the background by the Saudi and Emirates governments who are engaged with Qatar in their own dispute. All of them spend millions on lobbyists in Washington D.C. to push their case.