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  • US government plans new talks on alleged Gulf subsidies: reports

US government plans new talks on alleged Gulf subsidies: reports

The US State Department is planning talks with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates over alleged subsidies to their state-owned airlines, say reports.

Bloomberg reports that the talks could happen as early as next week, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation. A meeting between the State Department and airline and union officials took place earlier today, reports Bloomberg.

The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A coalition of US airlines and their unions, which have been pushing for the US government to take action against the three Gulf carriers - Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways - applauded the Trump administration for "taking action".

Referring to the Gulf carriers, the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies says: "Their activities are harming American jobs and the US aviation industry and we appreciate that the administration is acting to resolve these issues with the governments of the UAE and Qatar."

The coalition comprises American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and several of their unions.

Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The three US carriers have lobbied their government for years to look into allegations of $50 billion of state subsidies for the three Gulf airlines. While the Obama administration had held informal talks with Qatar and the UAE in 2016, no action was taken.

A number of smaller US airlines have come out in support of the Gulf carriers. Atlas Air, FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Airways had formed US Airlines for Open Skies, a coalition that has spoken out against the big three US carriers' campaign.

"We are confident further investigation by the Trump administration will show the claims for what they are: a political ploy to protect themselves from competition and limit choice for US travellers," says US Airlines for Open Skies.

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