New draft US legislation would plumb the depths of discriminatory aviation practices. The Big 3 US airlines (American, Delta, and United) have - so far - fruitlessly campaigned that the Gulf superconnector airlines are artificially big, and that "fair competition" restrictions should be invoked so that those airlines must reduce their flights.
A senator from Delta's home state of Georgia is now proposing tax provisions that would subject the three Gulf superconnector airlines, as well as a handful of other airlines, to US taxes. The provision is based on US airlines not flying to foreign countries whose home airlines do fly to the US. This is overtly discriminatory and cuts across the long-running US aviation policy of liberalisation that has allowed US airlines to spread their wings internationally. And not only would it attack the Gulf carriers, but at least another 20 international airlines would be affected.
American Airlines ended its codeshares with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways to escalate its stance. Internally at American the decision was controversial on a commercial basis, and has now taken an aeropolitical turn: Etihad will suspend its Dallas flight from Mar-2018, on the basis that the loss of American's codeshare will make the flight unviable.
US airlines will never replace Gulf airline flights on a one-for-one basis. One week after US President Trump praised Singapore Airlines for placing a Boeing order that will generate jobs in the US, Etihad has declared that American Airlines is, effectively, single-handedly responsible for a decrease in economic and job contribution in the US.
Whatever the facts, this is a new political environment often guided by emotion and appearance rather than substance and the public interest.
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