CEOs of Delta, United and American Place Ad Urging Trump to Take Action on Qatar Feud

Apr 19, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The three US legacy carriers can’t let go of their feud with Qatar Airways.

On Tuesday, the CEOs of Delta, United and American Airlines took out a full-page advertisement in both The New York Times and The New York Post that urged President Donald Trump to take action on what they claim are unfair fifth freedom flights that Qatar Airways is operating through its stake in Air Italy.

“In the last few days, Qatar Airways has used its Italian proxy to launch routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and added flights to Miami – a further effort to undermine U.S. airlines,” the letter to Trump states. “Simply put, Qatar Airways represents a grave threat to American jobs and the health of the airline industry.”

The letter goes on to say that a “rule-abiding business” can’t compete with a “massively subsidized airline.” The implication here being that through Qatar’s minority 49% stake in Air Italy, it is subsidizing flights and unfairly competing with US airlines for flights from the US to Europe.

The three US airlines had long accused Qatar of unfairly receiving government subsidies to compete in the US market. That dispute ended after Qatar agreed to open its accounting books and agreed it wasn’t planning any routes from the US to destinations outside Qatar, which would be known as “fifth freedom” flights.

“We respectfully encourage your administration to hold Qatar accountable for violating its agreement with the United States and affirm that we will not tolerate these continued infractions,” the letter says, and is signed by Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta; Doug Parker, CEO of American; and Oscar Munoz, CEO of United.

The accusations the three US airline CEOs are levying would mean Qatar would be circumventing this agreement. But by the standard definition, Air Italy’s flights are not fifth freedom routes because Qatar only holds a minority stake in the carrier. The CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, has long denied that these flights are fifth freedom.

“This is a lie. This is a straight, white lie,” Al Baker said in response to the accusations in March. “They cannot prove that we are putting a single passenger on Air Italy out of the Qatar Airways network.”

On Tuesday, the CEOs of JetBlue, FedEx and Atlas Air all signed a letter to the Trump Administration “to reiterate our support for Open Skies” policy, arguing that Air Italy’s flights are above board.

Featured photo of Air Italy’s first 737 MAX 8 before delivery in Seattle by Alberto Riva/TPG

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.