March 28 - Letter To President Trump

President Donald J. Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Emirates Airline recently inaugurated new daily service between Dubai and Newark with a stop in Athens to pick up passengers. This service is a so-called Fifth Freedom right negotiated between the U.S. and the U.A.E., and codified in an Open Skies agreement. This right allows a carrier to transport revenue traffic from its home country to a second country and onto a third country. It is a core element of the 120 U.S. Open Skies agreements. Emirates' flights will provide year-round service between Greece and the U.S. for the first time since 2012.

Some U.S. airlines responded with misleading protectionist rhetoric that Emirates is “flagrantly violating its Open Skies agreement with the United States.” That an airline can be in violation of an Open Skies agreement in the exercise of a negotiated right is patently false. Indeed, the U.S.- Japan bilateral air transport agreement provides unlimited Fifth Freedom traffic rights for U.S. air carriers serving destinations in Far East Asia beyond Japan. In fact, Delta Air Lines has a significant Fifth Freedom operation at Tokyo Narita. Some sixty-four percent of Delta passengers landing at Narita connect onto six Asian cities served by Delta.

U.S. Open Skies policy represents the Gold Standard for international bilateral trade agreements that, is this instance, provide consumers competitive choices; generate middle-class aerospace and travel and tourism job growth in communities across the country; support local economic stability and growth; drive a better balance-of-trade through foreign tourists’ dollars; and provide the marketplace discipline necessary to encourage efficient, innovative commercial air transportation services. 

Thank you for your support of great American jobs and the consumer.


Kevin Mitchell

Founder, Business Travel Coalition;


Members of the U.S. Congress

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon

Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner

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