The Administration yesterday reaffirmed with the United Arab Emirates – where Etihad and Emirates are based – that the Open Skies agreement is the defining principle of their aviation relationship.
More than that, the Administration agreed and affirmed the acceptance of Fifth Freedom flights. These for example cover Emirates Dubai-Milan-New York and Dubai-Athens -New York routes.
The big freight carriers- Fedex and UPS were adamant over the importance of Fifth Freedom rights. Without them they’d be severely hampered in routing services.
The USB3 have spent fortunes on lawyers and lobbyists to no avail. A similar re-affirmation with Qatar looks imminent, even though Qatar operates no similar Fifth Freedom flights.
The USB3 are still trying to limit AirItaly, but that seems doomed to fail, as it should.
It seems the Administration has understood that the three big trans-Atlantic immunised joint ventures, United-Lufthansa, Delta-Virgin-AF-KLM and American Airlines-BA, in effect control the entire trans-Atlantic.
As Qatar owns a big stake in IAG – and therefore BA, that would make BA the same type of operation as AirItaly, and yet there is no complaint about that. The same for Delta and Virgin Atlantic.
Someone in the administration clearly understands the USB3 are on a high road to nowhere with their stupid and illogical arguments. But don’t expect the USB3 to back down any time soon. They’ve spent far too much money to let go now, even if it gets them nowhere.
Needless to say the opposition- FedEx, JetBlue and their allies are delighted, and so should anyone be who values the ability to fly fairly.