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A bipartisan group of 17 members of the Illinois congressional delegation today sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, urging the Trump administration to enforce Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The Illinois letter joins similar bipartisan letters from the delegations of Michigan, Georgia and Minnesota, as well as letters from 25 members of Congress from New York and New Jersey and six U.S. senators.

Specifically, the letter details how these two countries have pumped more than $50 billion in illegal subsidies into their state-owned airlines – Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – in violation of their Open Skies agreements with the United States.

The letter reads, in part: “In our home state of Illinois, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines collectively employ nearly 25,000 workers. These are good jobs: stable, middle-class, well-paying and grounded in the communities they serve. However, current and future employment in the U.S. aviation sector is now under threat as a result of the anticompetitive practices of three subsidized Gulf airlines - Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates. Unlike their subsidized Gulf carrier competitors, U.S. airlines serve smaller markets in Illinois, such as Champaign, Moline, Peoria and Springfield. Air service and economic development in small communities will be jeopardized if subsidized competition weakens U.S. airlines' ability to maintain robust hubs in our state.”

The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Dan Lipinski, Randy Hultgren, Rodney Davis, Brad Schneider, Mike Bost, Darin LaHood, Adam Kinzinger, Peter Roskam, Robin L. Kelly, Luis V. Gutiérrez, Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky, Cheri Bustos, John Shimkus, Raja Krishmamoorthi, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis.

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