U.A.E. Business Council Statement    

“Stop Complaining and Start Competing” says U.S. – U.A.E. Business Council

Open Skies Critical to $19 billion annual U.S. trade surplus with U.A.E.

March 5, 2015 Washington, DC - The Big Three U.S. airlines should “stop complaining and start competing,” U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council President Danny Sebright said today.   With a $19 billion trade surplus at stake, U.S. officials should stand with virtually every single stakeholder in U.S. commercial aviation, such as U.S. airports, travel and hospitality companies, business travelers and cargo airlines, and resist any efforts to limit free trade or restrict Open Skies agreements with the U.A.E.

A 2014 Business Council report on the U.S.-U.A.E. commercial aviation relationship, U.S.-U.A.E. Commercial Aviation Update: Flying Higher, details over $130 billion in sales of Boeing aircraft at the 2013 Dubai Air Show by U.A.E. carriers.  This White Paper was an update to the 2013 report, U.S.-U.A.E. Commercial Aviation: Taking Flight, which identified more than $16 billion in annual benefits to the U.S., supporting more than 100,000 jobs and generating over $1.6 billion in tax revenue.  Both reports reflect that the U.A.E. has been the largest U.S. export destination in the broader Middle East for the last six years. 

“U.A.E. airlines are the biggest international buyers of U.S.-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 U.S., U.A.E. 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 U.S. airlines.” 

“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 U.S. government market - the world’s largest,” Sebright noted. “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.”

U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council

Abad Allawi


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