International Air Service Controversies: Frequently Asked Questions [May 4, 2015] [open pdf - 251KB]
"'Open skies' agreements are a form of international civil air service agreement that facilitates international aviation in a deregulated environment. They eliminate government involvement in airline decisionmaking about international routes, capacity, and prices. Since 1992, the United States has reached 114 open skies agreements governing international air passenger and air freight services. There are two ongoing controversies that are related to open skies agreements. One controversy involves some U.S. network airlines' and labor unions' opposition to the expansion of three fastgrowing airlines based in the Persian Gulf region--Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. The U.S. carriers allege the subsidies and support that these three Persian Gulf carriers purportedly receive from their government owners contravene fair competitive practices requirements of their home countries' open skies agreements with the United States. […] The other controversy concerns Norwegian Air International (NAI), an airline that is registered in Ireland and plans to operate transatlantic flights to U.S. destinations. NAI's application has met strong opposition from labor groups and some airlines that allege that NAI violates a provision of the U.S.-EU open skies agreement that governs labor standards. They contend that NAI's plan would create precedent for using low-wage crew members from third countries aboard flights to the United States. […] This report addresses some of the most frequently asked questions related to these two on-going controversies."
CRS Report for Congress, R44016