While everyone has been freaking out (justifiably!) over United Airlines' treatment of a passenger on an overbooked flight and subsequent PR disaster, they're hardly the only questionable thing happening in America's skies. For instance, take a gander at the actions of some Gulf carriers--who, armed with generous government subsidies, are exploiting unenforced trade agreements to create an entire economy based on aviation.
The subsidies enable the Gulf airlines--Ethiad, Qatar, and Emirates--to make curious business decisions that don't mesh up with customer demands, effectively siphoning passengers off of domestic carriers that actually play by the rules of various treaties. This, argues economist Darin Lee, is fundamentally unfair and should be stopped.
“No company could tolerate such financial losses except for those receiving a never-ending stream of state subsidies. If all airlines are to compete fairly, we need to stop the massive flow of government cash that has completely skewed the playing field.”
A spokesperson for the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies warned that these trends are only likely to continue, hurting American jobs and the American economy.
“Since their rule-breaking subsidies were first brought to light, the Gulf carriers have accelerated their scheme to further infiltrate the U.S. markets and dominate global aviation, at the expense of fair-playing businesses. No country should be able to break their agreements with the United States, especially when it threatens an entire industry and more than a million American jobs.”
Considering that Gulf carriers have twice as many planes on order as American and Chinese carriers do combined, it's not entirely out of the question to think that they're likely planning on further undercutting American airlines.
So while United may be catching flack for effectively treating a passenger like an animal, things could potentially get far worse for American consumers--unless trade agreements are actually enforced.