Delta Air Lines plans to announce new international routes in the coming weeks after U.S. and three Gulf carriers. The Delta Airlines has resolved a more than three-year-old dispute over unfair competition.
The Delta Airlines and competitors, American Airlines and United Airlines have complained for years about the expansion of three Persian Gulf carriers — Qatar Airways, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways and Dubai-based Emirates Airline, saying they receive state subsidies that have created unfair competition for the U.S. airlines.
In a January 2015 paper, the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a lobbying group representing the three U.S. airlines, said the three Middle Eastern carriers have received more than $40 billion in government subsidies and other unfair advantages in the last decade alone.
But on Friday, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates, home to two of the three carriers mentioned in the dispute, reached a deal in which Etihad and Emirates would open up their books, providing financial statements that are up to international accounting standards. Qatar reached a similar agreement with the U.S. earlier this year.
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian said the deal would allow Delta to add new destinations. Delta called off its Atlanta-Dubai flight in 2015, saying it was because of unfair competition from the Gulf carriers. United is the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service to India.
Emirates has added flights to the U.S. in recent years, has also introduced what is known as “fifth freedom” flights, flying to or from a destination other than the carrier’s home country, with service to Milan and Athens from the New York City area.
The United Arab Emirates said that the agreement with the U.S. meant business as usual by validating all of the rights and benefits — including ‘Fifth Freedom’ services.
The lobbying group representing the big three U.S. airlines, however, said the United Arab Emirates had agreed that it wouldn’t allow more of those flights.