Earlier this month, at a press conference in Los Angeles, the CEO of Qatar Airways, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, once again said he and his airline were being "bullied" by U.S. airlines, notably American and Delta.
United Airlines announced that in January it will end its nonstop Washington-Dubai flights. The news adds another proof point to the mass of evidence that the hugely-subsidized Gulf airlines are harming the U.S. aviation industry and violating the terms of the "Open Skies" agreements.
It's time for the Obama administration to act. Failure to act will put the U.S. airlines, their workers, communities across the country that rely on service and the entire American aviation industry in serious jeopardy.
One of the fibs that the Gulf airlines and their supporters keep repeating is that U.S. airlines are being "protectionist," which couldn't be further from the truth. American, Delta, and United don't need protection from competition.
If you're Emirates, based in Dubai, Etihad from Abu Dhabi, or Qatar Airways from that country, you can install showers, butlers and bars on your A380s because your government owners deliver wheelbarrows of subsidy cash.
Open Skies agreements have served U.S. carriers very well, enabling them to grow overseas, and to partner with European and Asian airlines to expand their networks. But U.S. airlines cannot - and should not have to - compete with airlines with short paths to enormous government treasuries.
U.S. airlines have learned to compete in a global marketplace. They ask no special favors; only that our government provide equal opportunity to compete, and act to control airlines that could not exist without enormous and ongoing state capitalism.
The three Gulf mega-airlines, Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, leverage billions of dollars in government subsidies to provide high-end indulgences to their passengers - but for too long the human cost of these luxuries has been hidden from the flying public.
Preserving Open Skies is critical to thousands of businesses all across America and millions of U.S. jobs that depend on international travel. These agreements exist to benefit the entire travel industry and the broader U.S. economy, not just three airlines.
In this traveler's eyes, American air carriers generally, and Delta specifically, have slipped from atop the quality and service rankings. They have gone from diamonds to diamonds in the rough. And with a good bit of polishing, we may both one day be Diamonds again.
China's continuing refusal to lift all limits on flights to and from the United States hurts Chinese business travelers and prevents Chinese carriers from enjoying the full benefits of access to the U.S. airline market.