US politicians use new Emirates flights to test President Donald Trump's "America First" resolve

Oliver Gill
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(FILES) File picture dated August 1, 200
Emirates plans to commence its service from Athens to New York's Newark airport on Sunday (Source: Getty)

New York politicians have called on US President Donald Trump to block airline Emirates from opening up a new route into the country, testing the White House’s “America First” resolve.

Twenty-five members of the New York and New Jersey congressional delegation have written to Trump asking him to stop plans by Emirates for a non-stop flight from Athens to Newark airport that is slated to commence on Sunday.

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US airlines have questioned “Open Skies” agreements for some time in relation to the operations of Gulf-state carriers. Alongside Emirates, Qatar and Etihad airlines are alleged to have received over $50bn (£41.1bn) of state subsidies since 2004.

And the proposed flight from Athens will be the first key test of Trump’s mantra when it comes to the airline sector.

As reported by Associated Press this morning, the politicians wrote in their letter:

It is imperative that your administration takes quick and decisive action to defend US interests abroad and ensure that US airlines and their American workers have a fair and equal opportunity to complete.

The letter estimated that for every long-haul route lost by US airlines, as a result of pressure from subsidised Gulf competitors, 1,500 US jobs are lost.

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And the comments build on sentiment raised in a separate letter sent by the bosses of Delta, United and American airlines to secretary of state Rex Tillerson at the start of February.

“If left unchecked we will continue to see the Gulf carriers expand in the US market, causing further harm to hard-working Americans,” they wrote, adding that the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are "abusing the agreements, and our government has done nothing to stop them".

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