Delta lauds U.S. deal requiring financial disclosures by Qatar Airways

Aaron Brown
February 2, 2018

And Qatar Airways does not operate fifth freedom flights to the U.S. (although it could do so under the Open Skies agreement, if it wished), so nothing changes there and the Qatari government's assurance on this is even vaguer than the financial transparency pledge.

A new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate January 15, 2015, at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany.

Now, the administration must stand firm on enforcing the U.S. Open Skies agreement with the United Arab Emirates and end its government subsidies that allow its airlines, Emirates and Etihad Airways, to compete unfairly against U.S. airlines and threaten”.

Qatar is home to a major USA military base that is key to the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Mattis said that "a united GCC bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts".

"Qatar is a strong partner and long-time friend of the United States", Tillerson said, welcoming the agreements.

With Qatar having struck a deal, the UAE airlines may now find themselves more exposed to USA pressure.

The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, which represents Delta Air Lines, Inc., United Continental Holdings, Inc., American Airlines Group, Inc. and airline unions, had earlier said the Gulf carriers are "harming American jobs and the USA aviation industry".

"Today's landmark action will help create a level and fair playing field for American Airlines and other USA carriers", says Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of American, in a statement. And, it means that Qatar can also show it's cooperating closely and productively with US regulators.

"Everybody gets to claim victory in this", said Helane Becker, an airline analyst for Cowen and Co. We applaud this agreement and thank the administration for effectively representing the interests of the American aviation industry.”. Qatar hopes to change that narrative by enhancing counterterrorism cooperation and allowing greater USA visibility into its finances and banking practices.

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Airlines in both countries should "issue public annual reports with financial statements audited externally in accordance with internationally-recognized accounting standards, to the extent they are not already doing so", the State Department said in a statement. Within two years, Qatar also has to publicly disclose significant new transactions with other state-owned enterprises such as fuel producers.

Fifth-freedom routes to the U.S. by Gulf carriers, or those originating in a country that is not Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, have been a central tenet of US mainline carriers push.

But the side letter doesn't prohibit European flights and doesn't say whether more flights will arrive directly from Qatar, AP said.

The agreement also doesn't stop Qatar from launching more flights from its Doha hub to the United States. That's short of a binding guarantee.

Earlier, Qatar used Hamad International Airport to ensure the normal movement of flights and cargo to more than 150 destinations around the world via Qatar Airways after the Saudi-led blockading restrictions on Qatari aircraft using their airspace. The administrations actions today thoughtfully address the illegal subsidies received by Qatar Airways, and most importantly, support American workers and closer to home, American Airlines 120,000 team members.”. US and Qatari officials are to reconvene in one year to discuss progress on the agreement.

Emirates and Etihad Airways PJSC, which United States airlines claim may have gotten an additional $25 billion in unfair subsidies, aren't part of the arrangement for now.

While Qatar Airways does not operate any fifth-freedom routes to the USA, Emirates serves NY from both Athens and Milan.

"This appears to be the administration essentially throwing a meatless bone to the three USA carriers to put an end to their rants against the Gulf carriers", said John Byerly, who was the chief open skies negotiator in the Obama administration and has also consulted for Emirates Airline and UPS.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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