Etihad Airways has urged the US Government to ‘keep the skies open’, in a comprehensive formal response to the joint campaign by Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines to block competition and roll back the benefits of Open Skies.

The Etihad Airways response, which has now been submitted to the US Department of State, the US Department of Transportation and the US Department of Commerce, emphasises the many benefits delivered by Open Skies to consumers, to American workers, to US carriers and to US trade and tourism.

It categorically refutes claims made by the Big Three carriers about Etihad Airways’ finances, giving a clear and compelling explanation that the equity funding and shareholder loans provided by the Government of Abu Dhabi, by way of investing in a successful business model, fully comply with the US-UAE Air Services Agreement and all other applicable rules.

The submission also shows that the Big Three carriers have gained more than $70 billion in benefits from US Government authorities, and through legal processes such as Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, over the last 15 years.

In a letter supporting the airline’s formal submission, James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Etihad Airways did not seek this fight; we focus on making money by providing world class, innovative, re-imagined and value-for-money product and services to our guests.”