Open skies with GCC crucial for US economy – senior Boeing official
Now Reading
Open skies with GCC crucial for US economy – senior Boeing official

Open skies with GCC crucial for US economy – senior Boeing official

Three US carriers are calling for an end to the US’ open skies agreement with the UAE and Qatar over a subsidies row


Open skies is crucial for the airline industry and for the US’ economy, a senior Boeing official has said.

“We truly believe in open skies. It’s good for the consumer, it’s good for economic development and we are very supportive of it,” said Marty Bentrott, SVP, International Sales, Boeing.

His comments come as three major US carriers – American Airlines, United and Delta Air Lines accuse Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways of receiving “unfair” government subsidies worth $42bn. The US airlines have demanded an end to the country’s open skies agreement with the UAE and Qatar.

The GCC carriers have aggressively denied the charges and allege that the US carriers are losing marketshare because of inferior service standards.

Refusing to take sides, Bentrott stressed that the US-based aircraft manufacturer stands by open skies.

“We are not going to take sides in terms of the debate with respect to who is right and who is wrong. All we want to do is to provide data and facts about the value of open skies – of our business activity with customers in GCC,” he said.

All the three major GCC carriers and others such as flydubai have a healthy pipeline of aircraft orders with Boeing. Open skies also creates jobs for Boeing and its partners, acknowledged Bentrott.

“The US was a major proponent of establishing this whole thought process around open skies so that airlines could fly to where their passengers wanted to go. And it’s been a very important factor in continuing to grow commercial aviation globally.

“Today we can fly from Seattle to Dubai directly, while five years ago that wasn’t a possibility. This is good for me personally and good for a lot of people in this part of the US,” he added.

Currently, Emirates offers flights to 10 destinations in the US, Qatar Airways to seven and Etihad to six. On the other hand, United serves three GCC destinations while Delta and American don’t offer direct flights to the Gulf region.

The GCC airlines also argue that they offer better connectivity to markets in Asia and Africa, underserved by US carriers.

“If you delve into the topic [of cancelling open skies], it will affect airlines around the globe. When you start straining open skies, it will not just be about the GCC carriers, it will have a global impact,” said Bentrott.

However he added: “We also believe that there needs to be fair competition on a global basis.”


Scroll To Top