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The Big 3 US carriers began a war of words in March, with a complaint that the Gulf carriers were being unfairly subsidized and asking that Open Skies authorities be revoked.  Etihad, one of the Big 3 Gulf carriers, has responded today, releasing a study it commissioned.  That study, conducted by the London-based Risk Advisory Group, quantified government and court-sanctioned benefits and concessions received by the three largest US carriers (Delta, United and American) valued at $71,48 billion.  A summary of that study can be found here (Risk Advisory Report – US Carriers (May 14, 2015) final).

James Callahan, General Counsel and Secretary of Etihad, stated “We simply wish to highlight the fact that US carriers have been benefitting and continue to benefit from a highly favorable legal regime, such as bankruptcy protection and pension guarantees, exemptions from certain taxes, and various other benefits. … Continue reading

In the latest dispute between the ME3 and US3 during the CAPA conference in Las Vegas, the opinions on who won the debate differ. Looking to Europe, we see that the beliefs of the big European airline groups on government subsidies and traffic rights vary as well. The IAG Group with the legacy carriers British Airways and Iberia as an example left the Associations of European Airlines (AEA) to join the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA), which supports the EU’s liberalization of air transport. AirBerlin and Alitalia have left the AEA as well.   Moreover all of the above-mentioned have recently had investors from the ME.

On the other hand the remaining two big groups Air France/KLM and the Lufthansa Group remain in AEA, which has the goal to “ensure conditions for fair competition”, supporting the concerns of the US3.  That said, let’s take a glance at what… Continue reading

Guest Editorial by Fabio Gigante, Italy. Mr. Gigante is an aviation reporter and writes for JP4, VOLARE, Target, Aviazione Civile, la REPUBBLICA (cronaca di Palermo) and Capo Segreteria Provveditorato Interregionale per le Opere Pubbliche.

AlitaliaThe Italian airline led by Silvano Cassano has decided to leave the Association of European Airlines. The news comes after Airberlin and carriers of the IAG Group, Iberia, British Airways and Vueling, decided to do the same. Carriers who happen, like Alitalia, to have a significant ownership participation by player of the Gulf: Etihad owns 49 percent of Alitalia, as well as nearly 30 percent of Airberlin, while Qatar Airways holds 10 percent of IAG.

This opens a new front of the confrontation between the players in the Gulf and Europe, which adds to the controversy that already sees the ME3 engaged against the United States, where in recent weeks the big stars and stripes Delta,… Continue reading

The fracas between the ME3 and US3 is getting attention. Kudos to CAPA for setting up this debate. The people involved in the two hour debate were:

American Airlines, Senior VP Government Affairs, Will Ris
Americans for Fair Skies, President, Lee Moak
Delta Air Lines, Executive VP & Chief Legal Officer, Ben Hirst
Etihad, General Counsel & Company Secretary, Jim Callaghan
FedEx Express, Senior VP & General Counsel, Rush O’Keefe
US Travel Association, President & CEO, Roger Dow
WTTC, President & CEO, David Scowsill

Its a long video but this is a very important subject.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.  We’d like to see how the readership “votes”.

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