Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines have formed the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies coalition.

The move is part of an official attempt by the “Big Three” calling on Washington to enforce the open skies agreement, which they claim is weighted in favour of Gulf carriers (see news, June 2).

It asks the US government to put a temporary block on new US-bound services by Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.

A statement said: “The partnership is asking the US government to use provisions in open skies agreements to begin talks with Qatar and the UAE to address the unfair competition that distorts market conditions.

“In the meantime, the coalition is asking for new service to US markets by the Gulf carriers to be frozen.”

Aside from the three airlines, other organisations including the Air Line Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants are also members of the new partnership. A petition has been launched.

Last week, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker threatened to withdraw his airline from Oneworld if the open skies row continues (see news, June 9).,,,

Graham Smith