Under the deal, Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways consented to voluntarily open up their accounting books by publishing annual financial statements "consistent with internationally recognized accounting standards".
Delta plans to push ahead with new worldwide routes, American Airlines heralded it is a victory for U.S. workers and United said it was an important step in the direction of a level playing field. It asserts that Emirates and USA airlines already issue such reports. "The Record of Discussion also makes clear that the UAE and its designated carriers are and have always been in full compliance with the Agreement, and that there were never any violations of the Agreement by UAE carriers", Emirates said in its statement.
The Associated Press reported that an agreement was signed between US Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh and Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, after extended negotiations.
The report also states that Emirates now has no plans to launch direct "Fifth Freedom" flights between the U.S. and destinations other than the United Arab Emirates, the airline's home country.
In a January 2015 paper, the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies, a lobbying group representing the three US airlines, said the three Middle Eastern carriers have received more than $40 billion in government subsidies and other "unfair advantages in the last decade alone". In their campaign, the Big 3 and US labor unions initially asked the USA government to put a freeze on all new USA routes by the Gulf carries until such subsidies were addressed.
"Today's announcement confirms business as usual by validating all of the rights and benefits -including "Fifth Freedom" services - of the 2002 Air Transport Agreement between the two countries, " he said.
"Emirates Airline and the USA airlines that provide or have provided scheduled combination worldwide air services under the agreement have issued such reports for years, " the memo noted.
"All current and future rights for both countries' carriers to fly all flights, including fifth freedom flights, remain in place as an outcome of the discussions", the embassy said. Yet in a sign of how testy the issue has become, the Emiratis and the USA airlines immediately disagreed about what the deal said about the most controversial issue: flights to the US that don't stop in the UAE.
Not so, commented Scott Reed of the coalition representing the big three US airlines.
In addition, the agreement will require Emirates and Etihad to pay their share to operate out of their worldwide airports, said the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies.
"This agreement will freeze Emirates and Etihad Airways from adding additional direct flights from the United States to Europe and Asia", Reed clarified in a statement.
The Trump administration entered into a similar agreement with the Qatar government in January.