Airline trade pact needed with Gulf carriers?

Many airlines around the world get cash injections
An opinion piece in Aviation Week looks at the ongoing dispute between US airlines American, Delta and United and their Gulf competitors, who it is claimed receive enormous amounts in government subsidies.
The US carriers want an exception to “open skies.” But here things get tricky. The governments of India, China and South Africa, for example, have also injected billions into their own airlines. The difference is that Emirates represents a much greater threat.
“American, Delta and United airlines could not care less about another billion for Air India or South African. They just either fly below the radar or are strategically important alliance partners,” Aviation Week points out.
“If some airlines, like Qatar or Etihad, have essentially unlimited access to equity and others don’t, it is understandable that competitors are crying foul. But it is enormously difficult to argue that a very rich investor should not put more money into an airline if he chooses. Systematically, it cannot matter whether that investor is a state or a private enterprise.”
What is needed in the airline industry is an international trade agreement that regulates such issues, the opinion piece suggests. Support for airlines should be regulated by an international and multilateral pact.
Aviation Week
[image courtesy Emirates]