Etihad Airways Condemns Government Subsidy Allegations by U.S. Airlines
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, June 2 (UPI) — Etihad Airways has formally denied allegations made by the largest airlines in the United States of receiving billions of dollars in unfair subsidies.
Government-owned Persian Gulf carriers Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi; Emirates, based in Dubai; and Qatar Airways, based in Doha, are accused of receiving $42 billion in subsidies since 2004.
The companies have denied the accusations before, but Etihad is the first to submit a detailed report to the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Commerce and State.
The U.S. government filed the accusations in January made by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, who want access to the United States to be temporarily frozen for the accused airlines, until the situation is resolved.
The U.S. airline companies also want the government to seek “consultations” with the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to stop the practice of alleged subsidies.
Etihad denied receiving $17 billion in subsidies, instead asserting it received $14.3 billion in capitalization — $9.1 billion of which was in shareholder equity and $5.3 billion as in shareholder loans.
James Hogan, CEO of Etihad, accused the U.S. airlines who filed the complaints of “hypocrisy.”
“Notwithstanding the above, Delta, United and American have made very inflammatory and inaccurate claims, and our attached response addresses each of these claims in detail,” Hogan wrote in a letter accompanying the company’s official response.
Etihad accused the U.S. airlines of receiving $70 billion in comparable benefits from bankruptcy filings, but U.S. executives dismissed the claims by arguing that creditors and workers suffer the costs of bankruptcy claims, not the government.