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For several years the “big three” US carriers have been running a smear campaign against the Gulf carriers. I think they could have had a case, but instead they were running a campaign based on faux-patriotism, suggesting that if the Gulf carriers aren’t stopped then airline employees in the US will lose their jobs, and that we won’t be able to get our military where they need to be. Yes, unfortunately I realize campaigns like this often work, and that’s why they took such a disingenuous approach.
The US carriers didn’t have any luck pleading their case with the Obama administration, and they haven’t had much luck with the Trump administration either. Of course they (especially Delta) want to save face, so they don’t want to come out of this looking like they lost.
In January the US and Qatar reached an agreement in their dispute, which was a victory for Qatar Airways. Under this agreement, Qatar Airways agreed to release audited financial statements in accordance with internationally recognized accounting standards, and Qatar’s civil aviation authority had to agree that they were unaware of any plans by Qatar Airways to start fifth freedom flights to the US. That didn’t even restrict them from doing so in the future.
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