American Airlines CEO Doug Parker sat down with Business Insider to discuss why Air Italy is viewed as such a threat.
First, let me say that I am so tired of rehashing this issue over and over. But as misinformation continues to be spread about Air Italy and Qatar Airways, I see no choice but to correct it. I would do the same thing if Qatar was unfairly attacking American or Delta. My allegiance is not to an airline, but to reporting the truth.
So let’s turn to what Parker said.
The facts are those two countries, the UAE and Qatar have put subsidies into the three airlines, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. The result of that is those three carriers fly routes without any regard to profitability, and that’s a concern for those of us who do have to produce profits on our flying.
This canard has been debunked over and over again. We see that Emirates and Etihad have cut back on routes that are not profitable and are not in business to lose money. As the losses continue to mount, we may well see the demise of Etihad or its folding into Emirates.
That’s an enormous threat to commercial aviation and the United States. And therefore we’re really concerned about it, and we’ve expressed that for quite some time now.
Yes, but yelling something over and over does not make it true. See below for a link of articles I’ve written in the past looking beyond the propaganda.
> Read More:
- Dense, Dimwitted Logic From A Deliberately Deceptive Delta CEO
- U.S. Airlines Pandering To President Trump In Gratuitous New Ad
- Delta’s Victory Lap Over a Meaningless Agreement
- Qatar vs. Delta – Who Really Won?
- A Dishonest Smear in the Fight Over Gulf Subsidies
- 10 Ways Taxpayers Subsidize U.S. Airlines
- Exposed: Shameful Double Standards on Airline Subsidies
When the USA, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates struck and agreement in January 2018, both sides thought they had won. But when Qatar followed through on its 2017 plan to invest in Meridiana and rebrand it Air Italy, American and Delta cried foul. At the heart of the agreement was a gentlemen’s agreement (according to U.S. airlines) that the Gulf Carriers had no immediate plans for new Fifth Freedom flights. U.S. airlines viewed the investment in Air Italy as skirting the deal. Parker added:
Those side letters were important, it gave the US government the comfort it needed to move forward, only to find out that Qatar had gone and acquired a certificate of some bankrupt Italian airline and it acquired 49% share but was clearly in control and was going to take its airplanes and put them into that airline and have them fly from Europe to the United States.
Look at the landscape. Alitalia…always in trouble. Meridiana…troubled. Qatar Airways saw an opening to invest and build a carrier that could be profitable and become a better flag carrier in Italy than Alitalia. It saw potential and set out to make money, which it still hopes to do. That’s why Qatar invested in British Airways and Iberia as well…to make money, not lose money.
That didn’t seem within the spirit of the agreement; it seems like an absolute violation of the intent of the agreement.
“Seem” and “spirit of the agreement” are weasel words. Qatar had every right to add their own Fifth Freedom routes, let alone take a minority stake in a company that was already serving the USA.
So what is the solution? For Parker it is total surrender:
Where it should end is with everyone participating in the spirit of what they agreed to, and that would be that airline also doesn’t have any flights from outside the Gulf to the United States.
He’s talking about Air Italy here…amazing…
What is so sad to me is that Parker distorts Qatar’s investment in Air Italy, failing to even entertain the possibility that Qatar Airways is simply trying to make a smart investment. We’ve seen Air Italy already scale back operations in India, Thailand, Canada, and the United States. The carrier is not operating to lose money…but it does offer a better soft product than American ever will. That’s the true threat to American Airlines.