Nationalists in Trump Administration Considering Terminating Open Skies With UAE and Qatar

The campaign by Delta, United, and American to limit consumer flight choices and raise prices by enacting protectionist policies against Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar went nowhere with the Obama administration.

However Delta’s CEO declared that thanks to Donald Trump they’d get another bite at the apple to build a wall on the border with Qatar and make Akbar al-Baker pay for it. Delta’s CEO declared himself very encouraged by Donald Trump.

Major US airline lobbyists have been hard at work on this. Their team even fabricated the evidence to make their case. And US airlines were born in subsidy and continue to be heavily subsidized to this day.

But it’s not about truth, it’s about using the government to redistribute money from consumers to large airlines. In the process carriers like Alaska and JetBlue (which partner with Emirates) and Fedex (which has a hub in Dubai) get hurt. And so does Boeing, which sells large quantities of planes to the Gulf airlines while Delta buys used and Airbus.

However they appear to be making progress with the Trump Administration whereas they were unable to persuade the Obama administration (which privileged cooperation with the UAE and Qatar in the fight against ISIS over mercantilist trade policy).

Politico reports that while the Trump Administration has “not yet reached a consensus about what they should do, if anything, and a final decision is not imminent” they are seriously considering:

  • “informal talks with the UAE and Qatar to limit the number of flights into the U.S. or restrict certain routes”

  • “terminating the [Open Skies] agreements with those countries and using the one-year period before the termination goes into effect to negotiate” new terms.

National Security Council, Transportation Department and other agencies huddled for the latest strategy meeting on the aviation agreements last week while Trump’s senior aides were in Europe.

…The internal debate comes amid a broader discussion within the administration on trade that has sometimes divided Trump’s team, with [Trade advisor Peter] Navarro and other nationalists pushing for aggressive trade restrictions and others, like [National Economic Council Director Gary] Cohn, urging caution.

I continue to believe that the Administration overplayed its hand during the President’s trip to Saudi Arabia, emboldening the Saudis and the UAE to isolate Qatar, and that as a result they need to resolve Qatar’s isolation before launching any new attack.

It’s clear that the administration is divided on issues of trade, with hard liners failing to win on significant trade issues to date. The administration hasn’t withdrawn from NAFTA or made headway in advancing a ‘border adjustment tax’. That could suggest proponents of more open trade who disagree with subsidizing large profitable companies at the expense of consumers are likely to win. Or it could suggest giving a courtesy victory to the other side in this instance.

However the geopolitical situation in the Mideast suggests if the Trump administration were to pursue a protectionist stance against the Gulf carriers, it would hold off until relations with Qatar normalize.

(HT: Paul H.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Beat the Nationalists Airlines at their own game. Use the slogan “America First” to lobby the Trump administration to force the US3 to buy Boeing-only. No more “job killing” Airbus purchases.

  2. Oh no! Poor little travel blogger/political analyst/self-acclaimed know-it-all Gary at View from the Left has his feelings hurt again!

  3. The U.S airlines want a monopoly. Last year going to Greece during July from EWR was $1,200 this year $600 as Emirates flies directly to Athens. Of course the US airlines are going to complain as no one can beat the rates that the foreign airlines. Lower your rates UAL and Delta you need the competition. The US airlines always complain about subsidies etc, yet they don’t lower their rates. The service on Emirates is 100% better than UAL and you even get free wifi, in coach while UAL and Delta nickel and dime you,

  4. Well, Ed’s suggestion might be an “enlightened approach” of sorts!!!

    But “enlightened” is not exactly the adjective that comes to mind for any kind situation in which anyone would place the naked self-interest of the three already over-entitled US (not to mention sleazy and dishonest) monopolist seeking bullies….er airlines…ahead of say something as important as national defense!!!

    But, hey, in an era when “Stupid is as stupid does” it certainly would NOT be surprising to see these selfish airlines endanger national security by “alternative facting” their way enough to convince a desperately clueless, completely enfeebled, and utterly/stunningly incompetent administration to even consider doing something that furthers the impression of being prejudicial towards majority Muslim nations, let alone actually piss-off the leaders of countries that our country relies upon for far more important political, military, strategic and economic needs than those of these three crappy airlines?

  5. Payback for Qatar refusing to loan Jared Kushner the money he needs to keep 666 Fifth Avenue afloat.

  6. You forgot “White nationalists…” Remember this is about hideously grotesque white bullies reclaiming their supremacy over everyone including women who won’t look at them except with contempt.

    Why are so many fat pigslop rednecks reading a flyer blog?

  7. This doesn’t surprise me. The Trump administration always sides with big business, big polluters, big banks against consumers. This is just the beginning. Same thing with health insurance. They’re willing to throw 24 million people off of decent health care so they can have these people buy cheap worthless coverage where insurance companies deny everything and cover nothing. Good luck if you’re not super rich.

  8. In any other civilized country where they pay half what we do for Health Care at covering everyone, the GOP lawmakers voting to throw poor children off of Medical Care would be shamed so mercilessly they’d never be able to show their face in public again. Their Pastor would have them stand up in the church and shame them.

    Only in the US with its shift to the right buy 1/3 no nothing rednecks is this treated like business as usual, completely ignoring the suffeing and mass murder which underlies these cuts. The genocide is actually enabled by astounding stupidity that has millions voting for The Very Representatives who are about to throw their family off of healthcare many have received for the first time.

  9. Tyler- Really? I’m conservative and totally agree with Gary. This idiotic administration will bring us to our knees economically if this type of stuff continues. The US3 is a perfect example of what bad capitalism looks like. I don’t know about you but from what I learned in college (maybe you didn’t go), capitalism means open markets not government interference in favor of one side. That would also be called crony capitalism.

    After my recent trip from Rome on Delta I can easily see why Delta would want to shut out the ME3. My flight was delayed 7 hours due to mechanical problems. Then another hour because we were overweight. (Kind of scary that the pilot figured that out as were ready to psuh back) Than to make matters worse, the seatback TV did not work on a 12 hour flight and the armrest was broken and i cut my arm. All because they are flying old dilapidated planes and when they do buy new planes, they are AIRBUS AND NOT MANY BOEINGS! The ME3 airlines have bought many more Boeing planes in the last 5 years than the US3. So much for nationalism.

    So before making comments, think out the facts first. Anybody can shoot their mouth off on blog.

  10. Fact: Trump’s an idiot.
    Fact: Trump’s administration is made up of idiots who are extremely corrupt.
    Fact: This has far reaching implications, even in travel.

  11. What? Our government is controlled by “Nationalists”? Is that somehow derogatory because it sounds a bit like “National Socialists” (aka Nazis)?

    Trump is not a very predictable guy, but it was pretty inevitable once Obama left office that something would be done about this. The current situation is nuts. No one had ever envisioned a situation where small, energy-rich Middle Eastern nations would be willing to pump tens of billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines to try to corner the market on international aviation. Whatever Gary wants to believe, that’s the crux of the issue here. It begs for treaty renegotiation. The USA is just getting a really bad trade deal. So the treaty will be renegotiated.

    Of course, by that time, the situation with the ME3 may look different anyway because NO ONE can afford to lose this much money indefinitely. Stuff happens. Like oil prices go down from ridiculously speculative levels. We already seem to be past the high point of the ME3 life cycle. I suppose the renegotiation of the USA treaty will just be another nail in the coffin.

  12. @Greg. Unfortunately, I have seen the Canadian healthcare system up close and personal, with close relatives that live there. For life improving non-emergency surgeries, like hernia, bladder, ACL, hip replacement, and similar surgeries, there is a long queue (many months). Further, the quality of the doctor you get is erratic and therefore outcomes are also erratic. When an older person goes into the hospital for a stroke, they do not treat it aggressively. Without aggressive treatment, the first stroke, leads to follow-up strokes, and earlier death. I have seen it happen. Although Canadian system is one of the better single-payer medical systems in the world, it is no utopia. And, it has been worsening (ie collapsing) over time because of increasing cost. Personally, I believe that any single payer American health care system would be like the Veteran Administration or Indian Health Services (total disasters) and significantly worse than the Canadian System. If people like you (Greg) manage to enact single payer, I predict that you will be in a hospital receiving substandard care, which might kill you someday in the future.

    So Greg, you can continue your rant. But when single payer happens (and personally I think it will), don’t blame me when you are suffering or dying from substandard care.

  13. @Other Just Saying… You make some valid points about the Canadian health care system however there are other systems like in Israel which provide some of the best patient care in the world. Furthermore people that are on Medicare think it’s a fantastic program. Just because something is government run doesn’t automatically make it bad. Regardless, you can’t just throw 24 million people off of health insurance without coming up with a longterm workable solution. Some people are suffering from serious illnesses like cancer or have heart issues. Trying to jam something through Congress as important as healthcare which affects peoples lives shouldn’t be done in the dark and shouldn’t be done just because someone made a campaign promise. This is serious stuff and deserves a serious public debate.

    Health care in Israel is universal and participation in a medical insurance plan is compulsory. All Israeli citizens are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right. The Israeli healthcare system is based on the National Health Insurance Law of 1995, which mandates all citizens resident in the country to join one of four official health insurance organizations, known as Kupot Holim (קופת חולים – “Sick Funds”) which are run as not-for-profit organizations and are prohibited by law from denying any Israeli citizen membership. Israelis can increase their medical coverage and improve their options by purchasing private health insurance.[

  14. Try telling the redneck Sam’s Club legend about Canadians all coming to the US for health care to an actual Canadian. They will laugh in your face.

    Stop repeating Faux News propagandist lies about other health care systems that people either love or vote in a new government to fix it. It’s really just that simple (democracy=will of the people) unless a third of your country are the farthest right villians in history playing the stupidest know-nothing civilization-wreckers on earth.

  15. @Greg. Do you read? As I stated, what I wrote is from personal experience. Dumb as a doornob.

    @Mark, I cannot personally comment on the Isreal system. I have never been to Isreal, although it is on my bucket list. My Isreal trained doctor told me that Isreal has a two tier medical system. According to him, people without money are in the public system. Anyone with money opts for better care at private institutions. In any case, I live here. And it is my opinion, that we get Veteran Administration or Indian Health Services single payer, not good.

  16. Compare how some elective procedures have to wait in Canada with close to half the population here needing to get ANY care from an Emergency Room, which tells them by the thousands that “We can’t do chemotherapy for cancer,” or anything else that isn’t an emergency. That’s your vaunted US system which has an estimated 20,000 unnecessary deaths a year from such cases, and which the GOP is trying to liquidate to give the money to the rich.

    This is genocide. Yet the black lung coal miners in WV who are getting treated for the first time under Obamacare all voted for Trump who is working hard to take away their care. Fox News will tell them Obama did it!

  17. @Greg – are you capable of making any comment on this blog that has anything to do with flying?

    Why do you keep coming back every day solely to air your political grievances? There are plenty of sites just for that.

    Trump has your brain under his control; you can’t even switch topics. Sad!

  18. @Gary, any thoughts on booking future US flights on Qatar? And what of the AA dissolution with ME carriers?

  19. Most of my posts are about flying. I’ve been here almost since Gary started the blog. The only thing that makes me happier than free flights is to have Trumpanzees loathe me. Why would you think I cared the slightest what you think of me? If you don’t like my posts, mind your own business and read on!

  20. Hmmmm, lets see.

    1) Qatar is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist organizations.
    2) Gulf airlines are extensions of their govt. which have poor human rights (including gay rights)
    3) Trump ran on an America First platform.
    4) AA, Delta and United all employ Americans vs. the Gulf Carriers which do not.
    5) US Carriers have to operate within a free market and do not have oil money supporting them as they poach into new markets.

    Listen, I like cheap airfare as much as anyone, but this blogger endlessly crying about a Republican administration that is favoring US businesses and US jobs over foreign companies and jobs is comical.

    Focus on travel blogging and stop crying about politics. I love nothing more than coming to your site with adblocker in full effect. Thanks for the free content and bandwidth, you big crybaby.

  21. @Greg – feeling is mutual. You are saltier than a pretzel. You don’t care what I think and I don’t care what you think. Enjoy the next 4 years as I have endured Obama for 8.

    But ultimately you are obtuse if you cannot separate your hatred for Trump with him pushing policies that benefit American workers. So sorry your airfare to your exotic destination is a tad higher.

  22. Not. one. job. yet. (except for the billionaires in his cabinet).

    Obama was the undisputed world leader, an absolute class act that any decent person saw and appreciated. Only slobby rednecks and terrorists hated him.

    Trump is the most hated man on the planet, a bleeding psychotic mental case who has his own party worried about how they are going to get rid of him if necessary to save humanity. No country has ever elected such a vile conman who bleeds his psychosis all over the internet every day. His supporters are uncivilized rednecks who only got involved to blow up modernity. It takes someone who grew up there to know exaclty how bottomless this pit of bigoted ignorance is, but as they now teach in the schools of the modern nations after Bush, the American rednecks is the stupidest creature on the planet – a destroyer of Civilization.

    We will survive, and shove you back in the crazy aunt basement like the GOP did after Goldwater’s defeat.

  23. God Bless President Trump! Well on his way to Making America Great Again. Very much looking forward to what he can accomplish over the next 7.5 years.

  24. I love Gary’s blog, despite his liberal leanings. I love how he takes it to the American Airlines, Delta, and United.

    Besides, Gary brought us Greg, a cartoon caricature of the ugly liberal. That is, so much ignorance, incoherence, hate, and grandiosity in one package. Amazing.

  25. So many ignorant right wing Putin lovers on here that spew garbage. If you like Putin and Russia so much here’s the link to Aeroflot so you can book a trip back to Moscow. I’m sure Vladimir and his crooked oligarchs will be waiting at the airport to greet you wearing a MAGA hat.

  26. …or their 300 pound inbred redneck dupes. They’re at 30% now and peeling off like orange paint on leather skin. Historians say when he reaches 30 he’s lost all power and the GOP will have to figure out how to declare him Presidentially insane. But even now he hasn’t passed a single bill, gets in the way of those trying to. It’s like a daily car wreck you try to look away from, but it’s what rednecks played by Russian agents offer. Anyone who thought their icon Bush was as low as it goes doesnt know the stupid involved. A million believed Hillary was running a child prostitution ring out of a DC pizza parlor. Apparently a lot of them are the fat rednecks you see on Southwest.

    When you act like you’re writing High here, redneck bullies, remember your 30% and shriveling like you do in the swimming pool.

  27. Almost every word of Greg rants is factually challenged and angry. If I saw a conservative spouting such nonsense, I would distance myself from them. Yet the liberals here, are closing ranks around him. Unbelievable. No wonder anti-Semites, like Keith Ellison, have a honored positions in the Greg’s political party. Such hate mongering is normal to people like Greg.

  28. Show one thing I said that’s factually incorrect. You come here and expect to spew Faux News disinformation, Fake News, and praise of a President who was metered during the entire past year at 70% outright lies by, and then call me the liar? Anything I say that’s opinion is backed by my own personal experience dealing for half my life with ignorant rednecks like you before I fled to civlization, only to have you come over my AM radio to take over and utterly wreck the country.

    So put up one lie I said that can be proven so with mainstream facts – not Faux News which is taught in every journalism school in the world to be a dirty disinformation operation started by a Nixon trickster forced to resign after imposing his 500 pounds on blonde bimbettes he hired – or shut your lying fat face. You guys are viewed worldwide as the lowest morals people on the planet, supporting a serial molester like bulbous bullies.

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