Spat over open-skies agreement a threat to Boeing

The aircraft maker Boeing said yesterday that the row between US carriers and their Arabian Gulf rivals potentially risked its own growth outlook.

“We believe in the open-skies agreement because it is a facilitator of economic growth,” said Marty Bentrott, vice president of Middle East, Russia and Central Asia sales for Boeing, speaking at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. “Economic growth is the driver of airline manufacturing and airlines facilitate economic growth.”

He said both Boeing and its European rival Airbus would be hit if there is any movement from Washington on curtailing the agreement.


“The Middle East is responsible for 10 per cent of our business and its aviation business is growing at 8 to 9 per cent against the global average of 5 per cent. Seventy six per cent of airplanes that are bought in the Middle East are for growth and 24 per cent for replacement against 52 per cent and 48 per cent globally,” he said.

Delta, United and American have led lobbying efforts, alleging Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have received unfair support from their respective governments.

They claim that more than US$40 billion in “concealed subsidies and other unfair benefits” have been directed to the state-owned airlines in breach of the open-skies agreement.

The Gulf carriers strongly deny the claims.

ascott@thenational.ae

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