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Wed, May 16, 2018

UAE, U.S. Conclude Civil Aviation Discussions

Travelers And Airlines To Continue To Benefit From Open Skies, All Rights Maintained

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority has welcomed an announcement on civil aviation in Washington that strongly reaffirmed and maintained all the provisions of the 2002 bilateral Air Transport Agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the United States.  The understanding confirmed at a meeting between the Foreign Ministers of both countries reinforced the principles of Open Skies that advance competition and allow airlines to freely add or adjust services to best serve travelers.

Commenting from Washington after his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan thanked the Secretary for working to achieve understandings on civil aviation and noted:  "Aviation is at the center of a UAE-US trade and commercial relationship that generates enormous benefits for both countries.  Today's announcement confirms business as usual by validating all of the rights and benefits –including 'Fifth Freedom' services -- of the 2002 Air Transport Agreement between the two countries.  UAE and US airlines will continue to have complete commercial flexibility to add or adjust service to meet travelers needs."

"We are pleased that the discussions with the US have come to an end.  They confirmed what was clear from the very beginning – that the UAE's international airlines have operated in complete compliance with the 2002 Agreement," said UAE Minister of Economy and Chairman of General Civil Aviation Authority His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori. "Importantly, there is no freeze on or any change to operating rights.  The UAE's international airlines can plan and begin new service, including Fifth Freedom flights, without limits and consistent with the 2002 Agreement."

"UAE airlines are among the world's best.  Their success has been achieved through innovation, a differentiated approach to service, and a geographic advantage at the center of the globe's fastest growing demand for air service," continued the Minister. "Our airlines will continue to grow and expand to connect travelers from and to the Middle East with the US, Europe, Asia, Australia and beyond."

UAE airlines currently serve 12 US gateways with 131 flights a week. These flights generate tens of billions of dollars into the US and UAE economies, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in both countries. The US has a $15 billion trade surplus with the UAE, largely driven by sales of Boeing aircraft with GE engines to UAE airlines, and the UAE also invests hundreds of billions of dollars into the US.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l applauds the Trump administration for taking important steps to bring the United Arab Emirates into compliance with the U.S. Air Transport Agreement and its requirement that our companies maintain a fair and equal opportunity to compete," said ALPA president Capt. Tim Canoll (pictured). in a statement released to the media following the announcement.

“The UAE has been violating this agreement by providing massive subsidies to Emirates and Etihad Airways, its state-owned airlines. The subsidies have allowed these foreign airlines to do business internationally with enormous economic advantages over U.S. airlines and regardless of the need to make a profit. As a result, U.S. airlines that follow the rules have competed at a severe disadvantage, and the jobs of hardworking U.S. airline employees have been at risk.

“The UAE has committed to a freeze on any additional fifth-freedom passenger flights to the United States. It has also pledged to employ international accounting, auditing, and disclosure standards. The agreement will also require Emirates and Etihad Airways to pay customary fees for the use of their airports. Such actions would represent a promising development. However, the UAE’s actions will serve as the true test of its commitment to fair competition. ALPA will closely watch how the UAE delivers on these commitments.”

"This new agreement means that the UAE's carriers, Emirates and Etihad, will finally be required to operate the same as actual commercial enterprises and compete on a level playing field with their commercial counterparts in the U.S.," said Captain Jon Weaks, president, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. "This new agreement marks a turning point in the fight for fair competition and ensures the sanctity of Open Skies and the benefits they offer."

(Source: News releases. Images from file)

FMI: www.uae-embassy.org, www.alpa.org, www.swapa.org

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