New U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council Aviation Report Released

The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has been running an aggressive PR campaign in the United States to win support for its state-sponsored airlines. A new report by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council goes as far as to exalt the benefits to U.S. workers from the commercial aviation partnership between the United States and the U.A.E.

However, the report fails to mention that Emirates’ and Etihad’s expansion poses a direct threat to U.S. pilot and aviation jobs. While the report heralds the value of this aviation “partnership,” only 2 of the 13 daily U.S.–U.A.E. nonstop flights are operated by U.S. airlines, and no U.S. airline flies into or out of Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, the U.A.E. airlines do not need to adhere to labor relations rules comparable to those that govern our domestic carriers, and they operate at a competitive cost advantage thanks to the U.A.E.’s favorable tax and regulatory structure.

Increased international air travel certainly has the potential to deliver economic benefits to the United States; however, the U.S. government should promote policies that ensure U.S. aviation jobs are protected as this expansion occurs and promote the growth and success of our domestic airlines.

As a starting point, ALPA has proposed reducing the tax burden on U.S. airlines, maintaining strong foreign ownership and cabotage restrictions, and avoiding gifting one-sided advantages to foreign competitors, such as the creation of a CBP preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi airport. You can read more about ALPA’s policy proposals in our “Leveling the Playing Field” white paper.