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Persian Gulf airlines rap US carrier for ending deal

Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways have expressed disappointment after a major American airline cut its codeshare cooperation with them.

According to Press TV on Thursday, American Airlines ended its codeshare relationships with the Qatari and Emirati airlines as part of its efforts against government subsidies of Middle Eastern carriers.

American Airlines announced it senseless to share flights with the two carriers who were receiving “illegal subsidies”.

“This decision has no material financial impact on American [Airlines] and is an extension of our stance against the illegal subsidies that these carriers receive from their governments,” the US company said.

CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker, also expressed disappointment over the US airline’s decision, while he rejected the accusation of “illegal subsides”.

He said the American decision would have no impact on Qatari Airways which would now seek new partners to replace the US airlines.

Baker noted that despite the US airline’s decision, Qatari Airways will go ahead with its planned procurement of 10% American Airlines stakes.

American Airlines, along with fellow US carriers Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, has called for the White House to crack down on an alleged $50 billion in state subsidies to Middle East carriers.

An Etihad spokesman said the Abu Dhabi-based carrier was also “disappointed” by American’s decision.

“Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is disappointed with the decision of American Airlines to terminate our codeshare relationship effective 25 March 2018,” an unnamed spokesman of the company said.

“We view the decision by American Airlines as being anti-competitive and anti-consumer,” the spokesman said, adding it will “reduce choices for consumers and may result in higher fares”.

Etihad also rejected “allegations of American and the two other dominant US carriers regarding violations of the relevant air transportation agreements.”