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US airlines have discussed Gulf carriers with Trump team, says Delta CEO

Delta Air Lines CEO has again raised the prospect that
President-elect Donald Trump’s administration would intervene
in the US carriers’ dispute with Gulf airlines.

Ed Bastian, speaking to investment analysts during the
carrier’s recent quarterly earnings call, said that officials from the US ‘big
three’ – American, United and Delta – have already met with officials from Trump’s transition team to discuss
current industry issues, including the US carriers’ allegations that Emirates,
Etihad and Qatar have received tens of billions of dollars in government
subsidies to help spur their growth.

All three Gulf carriers have repeatedly denied receiving any
subsidies.

“We are competing against governments, not airlines,”
Bastian said.

The US trio had asked the Obama administration to directly
intervene and block further flights being launched by Gulf carriers, but
following meetings with secretaries of state, transportation and commerce, the
US government decided against making any changes to Open Skies agreements.

Bastian, however, said the talks with Trump’s team would continue in the coming months about the alleged
“trade deals that are being violated”.

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