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U.S. airline CEOs to meet with Kerry on Gulf carriers

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 17 Sep 2015

(Reuters) - U.S. airline leaders will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday to argue for American action on subsidies that they allege three Gulf carriers have received, according to a State Department official.The 1:30 p.m. ET meeting, listed on a public schedule, will mark the first time the chief executives of Delta Air Lines Inc and American Airlines Group Inc have won time with Kerry in a months-long crusade to persuade the Obama administration to talk with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates about curbing alleged unfair competition from the Gulf."This meeting was at (the airlines') request," the official said on condition of anonymity, noting that Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Catherine Novelli will also be present.The official added that there was no special reason for the meeting's timing and that no decision had been made regarding what U.S. government action, if any, should be taken.American, Delta, United Continental Holdings Inc and their unions charge that Emirates [EMIRA.UL], Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have received some $42 billion in subsidies from their home governments in the past decade. This, they say, has allowed the Gulf carriers to start dumping capacity into the United States, driving down prices and pushing out competitors.The Gulf carriers have denied that they are subsidized, and say poor customer service has caused U.S. airlines to lose market share.Other U.S. carriers such as JetBlue Airways Corp and the air cargo unit of FedEx Corp have backed the Gulf airlines, saying that government action would signal an abandonment of the United States' liberal trade policy in favor of protectionism.The State Department is "carefully and thoroughly reviewing the claims" and "consulting with our interagency counterparts" on the topic, the official said.Senior leaders from the American Airlines- and Delta-backed Partnership for Open & Fair Skies have already met with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin in New York and Arshad Mohammed in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)Join the conversation about this story
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