Gulf carriers Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways contributed significantly to U.S. job and economic growth last year, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Travel Association.
The report comes amidst a renewed push from the Big Three U.S. carriers (American, Delta and United) to convince the U.S. government to freeze Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which would result in service reductions from the Gulf airlines and the loss of thousands of American jobs.
“Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways fly to the U.S. from previously underserved routes around the world, and provide needed disruption in the U.S. aviation space,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “International travelers are a proven boon to U.S. jobs, exports, tax revenues and economic growth, so the federal government should be doing everything it can to bolster connectivity and the number of carriers in the passenger aviation marketplace.
“Every city with a Gulf carrier flight can attest—Open Skies agreements, and the airline competition they engender, is a pure positive for passengers and for local economies. End of story.”
Had the U.S. government enforced a freeze on Gulf carrier flights requested by the Big Three in 2015, it would have resulted in the loss of 2,650 American jobs in 2015 and 4,400 jobs in 2016. U.S. Travel and its members have been actively opposing the Big Three’s campaign to unravel Open Skies since early 2015.