Breaking news. The sun rose in the east today. If you’re wondering why I often dismiss the outcry of U.S. airlines over subsidies, look no further than two news items this week.
News Item #1: A protest over Emirates’ new service into Newark
I wrote about it here and expressed dismay that Emirates was being attacked for being the only carrier willing to offer year-around service between Athens and New York.
The Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), a labor body representing FAs for several U.S. airlines, offered this dire press release—
AFA Members, ALPA and other Unions, along with United Airlines management, rallied at Newark Airport to protest the launch of Emirates Airlines flight from Athens to Newark. This route is permissible under the U.S.-Gulf States Open Skies agreements. However, Emirates is only able to enter this obscure market due to enormous subsidies received from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government, in violation of this same agreement.
You can read AFA United President Ken Diaz’s entire (nauseating) speech here.
News Item #2: A protest over cuts to the Essential Air Services (EAS) Program (i.e. subsidies)
Yesterday I highlighted that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would cut the EAS. View from the Wing rightly notes this will never happen, but let’s still play it out.
The AFA also weighed in on this–
We are extremely concerned that the [proposed Trump] budget guts the Essential Air Service (EAS) Program. These cuts would harm rural and underserved communities that lack access to a fully-mature transportation system, and rely on subsidized air transportation services or face further economic isolation.
Do you see that? The press release even MENTIONS subsidies. Oh, but those are good ones.
When United CEO Oscar Munoz rambles incoherently about the ME3 while failing to acknowledge that government “subsidies” saved United after 9/11 and helped the carrier emerge from bankruptcy by taking over United’s pension obligations, I shake my head in disgust. I don’t dismiss that Gulf governments help to prop up their home carriers, both directly and indirectly. I do dismiss calls of “us good, them bad” emanating from the USA when they are just as guilty.