You know the old saying, “Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black”? Well, this is the way I feel about Delta airlines CEO, Ed Bastian and his WAR against the Middle East carriers “ME3”. I have to make a disclaimer, that Delta is MY AIRLINE, and I have no “Personal” qualms with them as a company, just pointing out some the things that upper management is doing is a little “Do as I say , not as I do-ish”. ALSO, its NOT JUST Ed Bastian, but he is the most Vocal!
Delta, American, United, and others have formed a lobbying group called the “Partnership for Open & Fair Skies”. Their main complaint is against three airlines, they all happen to be Middle Eastern, Qatar, Emirates , & Etihad. The complaints are that these airlines are government owned and government subsidized, making it an unfair competition for US carriers. Another complaint is they are taking advantage of “Open Skies & Fifth Freedom” agreements / flights . Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian has been the most outspoken on these issues!
Open Skies & Fifth Freedom Flights
The Open Skies Agreement, is an agreement between the European Union and The United States. This agreement, in basic terms, give US or EU airlines the right to take off and land in any city in the US or the EU.
Fifth Freedom Flights are when that airline then goes on to another country, usually their home country. An example is Qatar Airlines taking off in Dallas , Texas , USA, going to London, and then on to Qatar.
The newest issue that Delta and others have with this is Qatar Airlines owns a 49% stake in Air Italy. The issue is Air Italy is using the Open Skies agreement to fly from EU to US, but they are 49% owned by Qatar Airways , which is owned by the Qatar government. Air Italy is the 38th largest airline in Europe, and it only has 13 planes, but Delta, and others say this airline is a threat to American Jobs, and competition. I will explain why this is ridiculous below!
Delta In Bed With Foreign Governments
I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled ” Oh!, What a Tangled Web we Weave; Delta “. In this article I pointed out that delta was entangled in many financial “arrangements” that involve foreign owned / controlled airlines. Here is a chart from the article:
The NEWEST twist to this over the last week or so is that Delta is ALSO taking an ownership stake, estimated to be around 10%, in Alitalia. Alitalia has been a money loosing airline for YEARS, and they are just coming out of bankruptcy, AGAIN. The Italian government has subsidized this airline substantially, and continues to do so, as its now the primary owner / shareholder in the airline! It’s also interesting to point out that one of the airlines that Delta has such an issue with, Etihad Airlines , used to be Primary shareholder of Alitalia, and Delta, and the “partnership ” complained about this, now the tables have turned.
So, it’s ok for Delta to own a stake in an Italian airline but NOT ok for Qatar or Etihad to own a stake in one? Hmmm… Something sounds hypocritical here!
Delta also shares stakes in airlines with with foreign goverments in China Eastern (Chinas Most Subsidized Airline), KLM / AirFrance, Korean, Virgin & Gol. None of these are Middle Eastern, so it’s ok, right?
Need To Protect American Jobs?
One of the arguments that Delta and the “Partnership” has is it needs to “protect” American Jobs. They say that by Qatar Airways owning a part in a TINY Italian airline flying to the US, amongst other things is a “Threat” to US jobs. Whats quite ironic, is that Delta took delivery of its LAST Boeing plane a few weeks ago, and only has Airbus planes on order. As you know, Boeing is an American Company, with American employees, and Airbus is European, with employers all over Europe and beyond.
Its also Ironic that Delta, and others do not think getting in bed with NON Middle East Governments harm jobs, BUT, Middle Eastern Governments getting in bed with airlines does… Seems to me its a little more than meets the eye here.
Like I said before, I am 100% for Delta, I love Delta, and am VERY LOYAL to them, but that doesn’t mean I agree with 100% of what the upper management does , I don’t. Overall Delta is a great company with FABULOUS employees and management, without a doubt. BUT, if Ed Bastian (Delta CEO) and others want to complain about things, yet do it themselves, its just hypocritical! I think I , and many others would be more on Delta, and the “Partnerships” side, if it wasn’t so lopsided against Middle East, Muslim countries, and if their objections were equal to everyone, because right now, they are NOT! There is too much hypocrisy, and double standard, that it’s hard to believe anything the “partnership” says.
Hopefully, US based airlines will keep IMPROVING , and quit worrying about Middle East airlines.
What are your thoughts on this??
Thanks for reading, and PLEASE, TRAVEL MORE!