Etihad denies receiving $2.6bn gov't subsidies in 2014

US airlines are embroiled in a spat with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways over Open Skies policies and subsidies allegations.
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Etihad Airways has strongly denied that it received $2.6 billion in state subsidies, refuting new figures revealed by US airline lobby group.

The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies on Tuesday issued a statement and supporting document from Etihad’s non-public financial statements obtained in Hong Kong that it claims shows the Abu Dhabi airline received a cash injection of $2.6 billion in 2014.

The lobby group, which is led by the three biggest US carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, along with several unions, said the funds were never disclosed to the US government.

The Partnership for Open and Fair Skies said it has included the financial statement in a 491-page document filed with the US Department of Transportation earlier this week in reply to the responses by Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates.

However, in statement to media, an Etihad spokesperson said: “We have never made any secret of the fact that we have received equity capital and loans from our shareholder. That is completely normal for any business which has significant long-term capital commitments, for example for aircraft deposits.

"Etihad Airways’ accounts are audited by KPMG and are fully compliant with international financial reporting standards.

“These issues have all been addressed in our submission to the US government under the Open Skies docket.”

Etihad Airways achieved its strongest financial results to date in 2014, posting a net profit of $73 million on total revenues of $7.6 billion, up 52.1 percent and 26.7 percent respectively over the previous year.

US airlines have been embroiled in an ongoing spat with the Gulf airlines, claiming that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways have violated Open Skies policies by received more than $42 billion of subsidies from their respective governments.

The claims have been strongly denied by all three Gulf airlines.

In response to a request by the US carriers that the US government renegotiate its air treaties with the Gulf airlines, the US Transportation, State and Commerce departments have agreed to review the allegations and opened regulatory dockets in April where any party could file information and lobby for either side.

The docket was closed earlier this month.

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