Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and other American carriers will soon know more about how the country of Qatar subsidizes its state-run airline, Qatar Airways.
U.S. airlines have long complained the subsidies create an unfair playing field in international aviation.
In the coming year, Qatar has agreed to issue audited financial records for its airline. It’s also promised to share details of financial transactions between the Qatar Airlines and other state-run companies.
It’s the product of an agreement U.S. and Qatari officials reached this week.
“[The] agreement by the State of Qatar is a strong first step in a process for commercial transparency and accountability,” said Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian in a statement.
Other U.S. airline heads and industry groups praised the decision, but called for continued action against other Gulf carriers that receive government support.
“Now, the administration must stand firm … with the United Arab Emirates and end its government subsidies that allow its airlines to compete unfairly against U.S. airlines and threaten U.S. jobs,” said Tim Canoll, President of the Air Line Pilots Association.
U.A.E operates two other major airlines in the region: Emirates and Etihad Airways. They won’t be subject to the new agreement between the U.S. and Qatar.
For decades, the U.S. has pushed a so-called “Open Skies” agenda. It calls for a free-market for the airline industry.
U.S. carriers have long argued that government support of state-run airlines like Qatar Airways undercuts that free-market.