The battle of the Open Skies Treaty in Washington, D.C.
By now most people are probably aware of the tense battle between U.S.-based airlines and Gulf carriers. Especially after Delta’s CEO, Richard Anderson, seemed to suggest that there was a link between Gulf carriers and the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. U.S.-based carriers are accusing Gulf carriers of receiving over $40 billion dollars in subsidies by their respective government. Essentially, U.S.-airlines want the Congress and the President to renegotiate the Open Skies Treaty or remove altogether.
If you have visited Washington, D.C. in the last few months and have taken public transportation, specifically a WMATA train, you may have noticed that both Airlines for America and Emirates have been paying big bucks for advertising at popular stations across the DC metro area. After the TSA checkpoint at DCA you will also see a few Airlines for America ads.
The end result will be an interesting one. Having Gulf carriers around means cheaper airline tickets for U.S. consumers who wish to travel abroad, meanwhile critics of the Open Skies Treaty say that Gulf carriers will hurt the U.S. aviation industry because they charge less than American, United, and Delta for flights and also pay their employees less.
My opinion, and that of many Boarding Area bloggers, is that U.S. airlines are also heavily subsidized by federal, state, and local government. These “subsidies” include tax caps in certain cities, bankruptcy protection that many airlines have received, and antitrust immunity.
Below are some of the WMATA metro station images. Oh, and one from a WMATA bus two days ago. I’ve seen about five different Airlines for America ads and only two different types of Emirates ads.