US flight attendants accuse Gulf airlines of ‘abhorrent’ labour standards

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Published: 27/03/2015 - Filed under: News »

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.

On the attack: Following Emirates' announcement this week that it is launching a service to Orlando, Americans for Fair Skies published the above on Facebook

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).


Clement Huang 

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Yes the middle east carriers have unfair working practices But I prefer to fly on those airlines than american carriers as the staff in general are rude and not interested in any service what so ever . Plus the middle east carriers have young crews who are either more motivated or scared not to do there job properly so makes for a more enjoyable flight. I think the american carriers have just realised that the gulf carriers are so much better and just jealous thats all

I think there is more to it than that BBFlyer. To my knowledge they never complained about SIngapore or Asiana or other airlines that offer service above even the likes of Etihad and Emirates. I think the massive subsides these airlines get is a problem, in Europe we have LH/AF etc complaining about it too. I confess to finding it ironic that it is the legacy carriers with the legacy terms and conditions for staff that shout the loudest. In the long term we risk carriers going out of business because of the ME3 and we will all be poorer for it. I don't think the Middle East governments will stop supporting their baby's, and we cannot go back to subsidising airlines. So the only answer is some sort of import tax on carriers where a subsidy exists or put up with American/European/African/Far Eastern/Asian and Oceana airlines being swallowed up or going out of business.

The difference is that Singapore and Asiana, etc did not expand their ops in the US at this breakneck speed. Essentially, the ME3 have term limits on the crew contracts and they offer the CC position to those who still regard this as a glamorous profession. The regions they recruit from support this positioning. I highly doubt that they are slave labor - they just are younger, provide better service and likely love their jobs. All items that are not true for the legacy US and European crew who treat passengers (in premium cabins no less) as inconvenience. Let the ME3 compete in domestic and transatlantic markets and see the Big 4 US and major European carriers wither away (and that would not be a bad thing).

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