CHOPPING BLOCK- Sources in Washington, DC tell us that a group of lawmakers is circulating a letter which reportedly seems to offer a solution to the ongoing battle between the three big U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and United Airlines (US Big 3) and their counterparts in the Middle East Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways (ME Big 3).
As frequently reported in earlier editions of Punch Bag, the U.S. Big 3 are already three years pleading for federal action against the fast-growing ME Big 3, claiming their rivals benefit from billions of dollars in unfair government subsidies.
Ironically, the U.S. lawmakers are offering a solution which has been at the disposal of the U.S. Big 3 for decades, which is to have their claims vetted through a Department of Transportation (DOT) process, which was created in 1974 to prevent foreign governments from meddling in airline competition.
A decision reached under the law would allow Congress and the White House "to develop a fact-based response" to the allegations, "rather than responding to the politically-charged rhetoric," said the letter, so far signed by 13 other GOP lawmakers and two Democrats.
Of course, the U.S. Big 3 have been fully aware of this option but are dead against having their arguments vetted by the DOT, because they are fully aware that their claims are groundless, spurious and misleading and solely based on anti-competitive behaviour.
Instead, they have been lobbying both the Obama and Trump administrations to intervene on their behalf, asking to block the ME Big 3 from gaining access to new routes and to revamp Open Skies treaties with Qatar and the UAE.
Not surprisingly, the lawmakers' suggestion has immediately been attacked by the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, a loose lobby group which represents the U.S. Big 3 and some airline unions.
The spokeswoman for this grouping, a certain Jill Zuckman, who is alarmingly unaware of the massive profits, staff increases and otherwise flourishing U.S. airline industry, keeps repeating patently false claims.
"This is nothing more than an effort to delay and distract from the real issue - American jobs are on the chopping block because of trade cheating by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar," the lady misleadingly stated in a reaction to the latest efforts to resolve this nonsensical issue.
As there is not one American job on the chopping block and the U.S. airline industry is flourishing as never before, it's time for Zuckman and indeed, the Partnership, to either file a claim through DOT or stop their fake rhetoric.
Stop the nonsense, Zuckman