On March 12, Emirates Airlines will launch their new daily flight from Athens to Newark. This route is permissible under the U.S./Gulf States Open Skies agreements. However, Emirates is only able to enter this obscure market due to enormous subsidies received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government, in violation of this same agreement.
The Gulf carriers have received over $50 billion in government subsidies. Each new route operated by these subsidized carriers (Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways) translates into a loss of nearly 800 U.S. jobs. We welcome competition, but it must be fair and on a level playing field.
United Flight Attendants have already lost flights to Emirates due to these enormous subsidies. United successfully operated the Dulles-Dubai flight for seven years. But on January 25, 2016, the flight ceased to operate. At that time, our Washington-Dulles base lost approximately 125 bid positions. Now, Emirates is targeting Newark and our Newark-Athens flight is at risk.
The Trump Administration has pledged to protect U.S. jobs. But, no action has been taken to protect U.S. aviation jobs. Congressman Albio Sires (D), New Jersey 8thCongressional District, is circulating a letter to the U.S. Representatives in New Jersey and New York urging the administration to bar commencement of the Newark-Athens flight until the United Arab Emirates government ends these subsidies.
Flight Attendants who live in New Jersey or New York are receiving targeted communication and are encouraged to call your Representative at 202-224-3121 by Friday, March 3 and ask them to sign onto the Sires Dear Colleague letter using the following proposed script.
“Hello, I am a United Flight Attendant living in your district. I am concerned the new highly subsidized Emirates flight from Athens to Newark puts my job risk. Congressman Sires has penned a letter to the President asking him to protect U.S. aviation jobs. The deadline to sign-on to this letter is Friday, March 3. I urge you to sign onto Congressman Sires’ Dear Colleague letter to support me and protect U.S. aviation jobs.”
Call today your job may depend on it.
More on the Middle East Open Skies Scheme
Fueled by government subsidies and unfair benefits, the Gulf carriers threaten the U.S. aviation industry, our economy, and our jobs. AFA is a member of the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies leading efforts to ensure U.S.-based airlines compete on a level global playing field.
Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways receive billions of dollars in subsidies from their governments resulting in unprecedented growth of their state supported carriers. These subsidies are a clear and direct violation of the U.S Open Skies agreements.
Middle East carriers are looking at the lucrative U.S. market to help build their fledgling airlines. Their collective goals is to dominate International Aviation. They are well on their way. New flights do not represent increased passenger growth. They siphon flyers from U.S. carriers, rerouting them from the U.S. to India and Asia.
As a result, no U.S. carrier flies to the Middle East today and United is the last U.S. carrier to offer flights to India.
These cuts in flying hurt U.S. workers. Every route ceded to this illegal competition translates to the loss of over 800 jobs. For example, when United dropped the IAD-DXB flight, it was a loss of nearly 125 international bid positions per month.
In order to solve this problem, we urge the United States government to open consultations and meet with representatives of the UAE and Qatar and reach a solution to end government subsidies.
Ken Diaz - President
United Master Executive Council