U.S. President Donald Trump Meets With Top Airline Executives Over Qatar Subsidy Accusations

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With rising concerns about subsidies for airlines in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, the United States President Donald Trump met with the chief executives from several top American carriers on Thursday. 

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with American Airlines, United Airlines, FedEx Corp, JetBlue Airways and Atlas Air to discuss the Open Skies agreements, according to Reuters.com.

The meeting was also attended by the CEO of state-owned Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker who was present at the White House last week to tout its decision in June to buy five new Boeing 777 freighters. 

The argument from the largest airlines in the U.S. is that Gulf carriers are being unfairly subsidized by their governments, which has distorted competition and resulted in the loss of American jobs. Since 2015, the Gulf carriers have rejected the allegations.

Scott Reed, the managing partner of the Partnership for Open & Skies, a group that represents Delta, United, American and aviation unions told Reuters that the meeting with President Trump was productive. He explained how President Trump instructed them to continue working with the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

The CEOs of FedEx, Atlas Air and JetBlue have warned that constraining the rights of Qatar Airways could lead to retaliation against U.S. carriers and added, in an April letter, it could cause a rapid unravelling of hard-fought aviation rights globally when other governments decide to take similar actions to protect their state-owned airlines from the competition. 

Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines said the violations of the agreement with the United States by Qatar represent a serious threat to the U.S. airline industry. It also puts 1.2 million American jobs at risk. 

He further added in his statement that the American Airlines team appreciates the opportunity to meet with the President and look forward to working with his administration to protect U.S. Jobs and hold Qatar accountable.

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