The news of a growing fracas between the US airlines and their competitors from the Gulf is starting to wear on industry observers. Just this week at the annual ISTAT Americas conference, the lessor panel, which includes people from within and without the US, seemed to be of the view that the US led the charge in airline deregulation and then pushed for open skies. The horse is gone – no use in trying to bolt the door. The US has some 100 open skies deals in place. If the US even agrees with its airlines it has to be wary of tampering with these deals. Mess with one and the others are all in play. Unintended consequences create trouble every time.
It amazes us the US airline industry could even open this can of worms. After being given massive state support after 9/11 and then being allowed to consolidate into a few fortress airlines – all now among the world’s largest – they need more help?