American companies like to talk about free markets, and how they hate regulatory restriction.
But that does not keep them from running to regulators for protection from foreign rivals. U.S. airlines are currently whining to Washington about Arab airlines that want to do more U.S. flights.
They fear losing business to airlines that have better customer service, but the argument they are using is that Middle Eastern airlines get special subsidies they do not get, like interest-free loans, equity infusions, and government paying the bill for bad bets on fuel hedging.
If you assume all that is true, it adds up to 42 billion dollars in special help for Arab airlines. But, the American carriers shuck way more by using bankruptcy to dodge their debt. And they got loan guarantees, too.
Arab carriers provide healthy competition that will make U.S. carriers better. No wonder the U.S. Travel Association, in this case, is siding with them.
That is Crisis at a Glance.
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