Abu Dhabi: Progress is underway on the open skies policy spat between the Gulf carriers and the US with a positive outcome expected in the coming months, the UAE Economy Minister, Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, said on Wednesday.
He said that the two sides held meetings in Washington DC recently and another meeting is expected to take place in the coming months.
“We are working together amicably. We had a positive meeting with the American side with a vision to resolve the issues as we move on,” Al Mansouri said while speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, after visiting the Etihad Airways’ innovation centre in the capital, which has a model of the new A380 and Boeing 787 aircraft cabins on display, and is also home to Etihad Airways’ innovation training academy.
“What will determine the whole thing is the open skies policy agreement that we have with them. The UAE did not violate that agreement and this is what we came up together as an agreement between the two sides,” Al Mansouri said.
He also said the US is going through elections and they have to wait and see what is going to happen there, and how it will impact the talks.
The three major US airlines including, Delta, United Airlines and American Airlines, have submitted a white paper to the US government outlining allegations of over $42 billion (Dh154.2 billion) in subsidies to Emirates Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
The Gulf carriers have denied the allegations and said that they are doing business in a fair manner without any support from the government.
Emirates in a statement last year said it has helped create thousands of jobs in the US and contributed in adding economic value to the airports where it is operating.
Speaking about the aviation sector in the UAE, Al Mansouri said the sector has been growing at 9 per cent in the last few years and expects that growth to continue on the back of expansion of the airlines into new destinations, buying of new aircraft and owing to low fuel prices.
“The aviation sector growth has been averaging about 9 per cent annually, probably contributing 3 per cent to the growth of the GDP [gross domestic product] in the UAE. This is happening because our airlines are continuously opening new destinations, they are introducing new services, [buying] new aircraft and also benefiting from low oil prices,” he said.