US, UAE reach deal on Open Skies: report

US, UAE reach deal on Open Skies: report
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The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have reportedly signed a deal resolving the years-old dispute over alleged Emirati subsidies for its airlines that American companies say give them an unfair competitive advantage. 

According to The Associated Press, the deal was signed in private at the State Department. A formal announcement is expected to come on Monday, when Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visits Washington.

Under the deal, Emirates and Etihad Airways will voluntarily open their books to audits and issue annual financial statements.


U.S. airlines have argued for years that the subsidies to Emirati airlines undercut the international Open Skies Agreement and creates unfair competition.

The deal between the U.S. and the UAE appears to be similar to an agreement reached earlier this year with Qatar. That arrangement had Qatar disclose its financial transactions and undergo an external audit.

Groups such as the U.S. Travel Association have urged the Trump administration to preserve Open Skies, which lifts many restrictions on commercial airlines. The group hailed the deal in a statement on Friday, expressing hope that it would resolve the dispute between U.S. and Emirati airlines.

"We hope this marks the end of three years of division that, thankfully, resulted in preserving Open Skies, and are eager for all parties to return their collective attention to policy pursuits that grow travel to and within the United States," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said.