US and UAE Reach New Air Travel Agreement

The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates on Friday said they had agreed to preserve their security partnership even as their dispute over alleged government subsidies to Gulf carriers remains unresolved.

The deal to be unveiled Monday commits Dubai-based Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways in neighboring Abu Dhabi to improve financial disclosures and freeze some extra flights, though neither carrier had planned to expand services that pick up passengers in Europe en route between the U.S. and the U.A.E.

The agreement falls well short of demands by some U.S. carriers and labor unions that have spent an estimated $50 million on lobbying over the past three years for U.S. lawmakers to curb the expansion of three state-owned carriers: Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

The rapid growth of the Gulf carriers, by leveraging their geographic position and a range of new longhaul jets from


and Airbus SE, enabled them to take market share from U.S. carriers and European partners such as Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The group of U.S. carriers led by

Delta Air Lines

DAL 1.61%

and labor unions said the state-owned Gulf carriers benefited from more than $50 billion in government subsidies. The Middle East carriers say that isn’t the case.

Each of the airlines declined to comment on Friday.

Both sides claimed victory.

“This agreement is a win for American jobs and shows that President [Donald] Trump stands up to countries that violate our trade agreements,” said

Scott Reed,

campaign manager for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a lobby group for Delta,

American Airlines Group

AAL 1.33%

United Continental Holdings

UAL 1.36%

and airline unions.

“The U.A.E. is very pleased that our understanding with the US preserves all of the benefits of Open Skies for travelers, airlines, communities and aerospace companies in both countries and around the world,” said

Yousef Al Otaiba,

UAE’s ambassador to the U.S.

Write to Doug Cameron at

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