U.S. Airlines, Members of Congress Pressure Trump Administration to Stop Emirates Athens Flight from NYC

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Twenty-five members of Congress from the states of New York and New Jersey have sent a letter asking President Donald Trump to stop Emirates Airlines from starting a roundtrip flight between Newark International Airport in New Jersey, and Athens this month.

The move by the members of Congress follows a strongly worded complaint by the biggest U.S. based airlines which claim the flight brings unfair competition in the skies.

The letter claims that Emirates, as well as other Gulf-based airlines have an unfair advantage over American air carriers because they receive billions in state subsidies and are able to operate long haul flights at lower costs, edging out U.S. airlines.

The members of Congress want Trump to delay the scheduled Sunday, March 12th commencement of the flight until his administration can negotiate a resolution with the airlines.

Emirates announced the inauguration of a non-stop, year-round Newark-Athens flight in January.

In response to Emirates’ announcement, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, a trade group representing the biggest U.S. Airlines including Delta, United and American, issued a statement claiming that Emirates was in “flagrant violation” of the Open Skies Agreement.

“By flagrantly violating its Open Skies agreement with the United States at the start of the Trump administration, Emirates is throwing down the gauntlet,” said Jill Zuckman, chief spokesperson for the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies. “We look forward to working with President Trump and his team to enforce these agreements and protect American jobs – something that the Obama administration failed to do.”

Emirates said they will go ahead with the flight and said that no agreements have been violated.

“We’re not changing it. We have breached no terms of the air service agreement that allows us to do that,” Emirates President Tim Clark told reporters at the ITB travel fair in Berlin.

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