The U.S-Gulf Carriers Dispute as a Threat to Open Skies Agreements: Load Factor as a Criteria to Judge the Misconduct of the Open Skies Agreements

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Alwehaibi, Majed Abdulrahman
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Open Skies Agreement was a great achievement for air transportation liberalization. Many studies have proved the Agreements’ benefits to passengers, airports and airlines. However, in 2015, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and American Airlines submitted a white paper to the U.S government claiming that the three Gulf carriers, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, are receiving subsidies and flooding the U.S international travel market with more than half empty flights. The Gulf carriers denied receiving any governmental support, and that alleged subsidies could not be proven or disproven. To try to determine if those carriers are operating empty flights, data was collected from the T-100 International Segment database to investigate the flood of empty flight accusation. The results revealed that the Gulf carriers experienced a huge increase in flights and passengers during the study period, and that, they were operating with a passenger load factor comparable to the U.S carriers.
Open Skies