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US airlines face uphill struggle against Mid-East rivals

New York

FOR the past year, the US's three largest airlines - Delta, United and American - have waged a relentless campaign to convince the Obama administration that their business is threatened by Persian Gulf-based carriers that receive billions of dollars in state subsidies.

The airlines have pressed the administration to freeze all new flights from their three foreign rivals - Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways - and would ultimately like to change the pacts, known as open skies agreements, that allow unlimited flights between the United States and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

"We recognise it is a difficult issue for our government to tackle right now," said Doug Parker, the chairman...

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