There are two separate and distinct violations of our Open Skies agreements that need to be addressed.
First, the Obama administration failed to stop a violation of the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement, allowing for entrance of a flag of convenience business model to compete with U.S. aviation. This same model destroyed U.S. maritime and shipped 100,000 good paying jobs overseas. For aviation, this means 300,000 U.S. jobs we would lose, along with U.S. aviation that connects us with every community in our country, the rest of the world and supports our troops. Congress should pass the Flags of Convenience Don’t Fly Here Act, included in the House FAA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 2997), to prevent the Department of Transportation from awarding foreign air carrier permits to airlines who utilize the business model in violation of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement.
Second, Gulf carriers are participating in the largest trade violation in U.S. history. Over $50 billion in subsidies artificially prop up Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar to choke out U.S. competition. Employees and consumers will shoulder the burden of unfair competition unless our government enforces Open Skies agreements with the Gulf states. For every international long-haul flight lost to the Gulf carriers, economists now estimate over 1,500 American jobs are lost. This impacts small communities too as feeder flights no longer carry international connecting traffic. Our entire aviation system is at risk with a direct impact of 1.2 million U.S. jobs.
Stand up for good U.S. jobs and the safest aviation system in the world. I call on the President to enforce our trade agreements and my Congressional representatives to take immediate action to stop flags of convenience.