Several unions representing US flight attendants have drafted a letter to the US Travel Association, questioning its continued support for Gulf airlines.
The letter accuses Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways of having an "abhorrent labour standard".
It was signed by the union presidents of the Association of Flight Attendants, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the Communications Workers of America, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
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The letter said: "These carriers require their female employees to obtain permission before getting married or pregnant, and ban lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from employment."
It goes on to question why Roger Dow, president and chief executive of the US Travel Association, has continued to defend the Gulf carriers "despite overwhelming evidence that they are receiving massive subsidies from their governments in violation of Open Skies agreements".
It also urges the Association to help restore "fair competition" to the aviation marketplace, and stop backing "the repressive policies of the Gulf carriers and the governments that support them".
Yesterday, Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan warned against "the dark clouds of protectionism" ending the open skies agreements in place around the world (see news, March 26). Earlier this month, Hogan hit out at criticism from US carriers that Gulf airlines receive unfair government subsidies (see news, March 17).
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker has dismissed the criticism as envy, accusing Delta Air Lines of flying "crap airplanes that are 35 years old" (see news, March 18).