| DUBAI, March 16
DUBAI, March 16 An "Open Skies" agreement
between Gulf and United States airlines is likely to survive a
dispute over subsidies, planemaker Boeing's Middle East
president said on Monday.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline will present its response this
week in Washington to a dossier compiled by a group of U.S.
airlines alleging that Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar
Airways had received more than $40 billion in state subsidies,
giving them an unfair advantage.
"U.S. stands for free trade," Boeing's Jeff Johnson said in
Dubai on the sidelines of an aviation conference.
"The subsidies issue needs to be resolved between the
governments, I don't think we will see a change in Open Skies,
it's a low risk."
Such agreements allow for liberalisation of commercial
aviation and fewer restrictions on landing slots.
Delta Air Lines Inc, United and American Airlines
have asked the White House to look into the financial statements
of competitors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways deny receiving
Some U.S. companies like Boeing, which like European rival
Airbus is a big supplier to Gulf airlines, have said the Open
Skies agreement is a key factor in promoting economic benefit
and fair competition.
The Gulf trio's growth over the last two decades has eaten
into the market share of legacy carriers. But those in Europe
and U.S. -- most with older fleets -- have cried foul over
competition from the region.
In response to questions on cost-advantage for Gulf
carriers, Johnson said rapid government spending on
infrastructure has helped the local carriers offer better
service. UAE and Qatar, where trade unions are banned, enjoy
close ties between the public and private sector.
"The thing you find here, and Dubai in particular, the
government-industry alignment is what really helps the
industry," he said, referring to swift runway works and new
"(Dubai) can bring a new terminal in three to four years -
whereas it took (London) Heathrow 25 years to bring Terminal 5."
(Editing by Keith Weir)