May 15 -  U.S. Airline Industry Most Taxpayer Supported In The World At $226B 


Those Living In Glass Houses Should Not Throw Stones

BIG 3 now seek ‘Mother of all Subsidies’

OpenSkies.travel today - based on a new report on continued taxpayer subsidies and benefits for U.S. airlines - called on the Obama Administration to reject calls by the Big 3 U.S. airlines to open consultations with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates because of $42 billion in alleged subsidies to their airlines. The Big 3 are encouraging the Administration to violate the terms of Open Skies agreements by denying new Gulf carrier flights to the U.S.

Etihad Airways released a report today by The Risk Advisory Group that details some $71 billion in financial support and benefits since 1999 in, among other areas, bankruptcy debt relief, pension termination and fuel subsidies. A Congressional Research Services report completed in 1999, but only recently discovered, detailed how the federal government spent $155 billion through 1998 in support of aviation activities to help establish the industry. This brings the total to $226 billion in financial support and special benefits. (The Risk Advisory Group report is available at www.keeptheskiesopen.com.)

“This report confirms that the United States has found numerous ways to financially help its airline industry become established and profoundly advantage it in ways to enable the most powerful and profitable airlines in the world,” stated OpenSkies.travel founder Kevin Mitchell. “At a time when the Big 3’s profits are being driven to record highs by the benefits of antitrust immunized alliances, customer service cost cutting and avoidance of ticket taxes on billions of dollars of revenue from ancillary services, it represents arrogance-in-the-extreme to demand protection from competition. Freezing Gulf carrier access to U.S. markets would be the ‘Mother of all Subsidies’ and stick American consumers with vastly higher fares and much diminished travel options,” added Mitchell.

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