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US officials to discuss airline subsidies with UAE, Qatar, but stops short of freezing flights

Trump direction officials on Tuesday met with executives from U.S. airlines, their wage-earners’ labor unions, and other industry representatives to discuss a course of manner over a bitter dispute with their Persian Gulf airline contenders.

The plan, at least so far, is more talks.

The nearly three-year-old dispute is based on statements from three large U.S. airlines – Delta, United and American – that three of their Heart Eastern competitors receive illegal subsidies from their commands, making an uneven playing field for other airlines.

State Be sure of officials met with representatives of the airlines as well as groups that obviate penalizing the Middle Eastern carriers, according to sources briefed with the conference.

The Trump administration plans on meeting with officials from Qatar as ancient as this week and is planning to meet with officials from the Unanimous Arab Emirates to seek financial transparency, and using commercial credit terms, said a person briefed on the matter.

The State Department didn’t rejoin to a request for comment.

One issue that Trump administration officials may argue with their Gulf counterparts, according to a person familiar with the talks, is that of alleged “Fifth Freedom” rights. These rights allow airlines to fly between two states of which neither is their home country. Emirates operates aircraft between New York and Milan, as well as from Newark and Athens.

“We root for the Trump administration for taking action to level the playing field with the Abysm carriers and their massive government subsidies,” said Jill Zuckman, spokeswoman for the Partnership for the Out and Fair Skies, which represents the big three U.S. airlines in the dispute. “Their motions are harming American jobs and the U.S. aviation industry, and we appreciate that the management is acting to resolve these issues with the governments of the UAE and Qatar.”

But units that oppose action against these Persian Gulf draymen also declared victory after the meeting.

“The legacy carriers are notwithstanding unable to show harm, still cannot point to a specific assault of the agreements,” said U.S. Airlines for Open Skies, whose members register JetBlue and FedEx. “We are confident further investigation by the Trump administration desire show the claims for what they are: a political ploy to protect themselves from championship and limit choice for U.S. travelers.”

People familiar with the talks voted the government did not decide to freeze Gulf carriers’ routes, however.

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