In an interview, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes remains a staunch supporter of the open-skies regulatory regime as it stands and says the U.S. Big Three are “pulling the drawbridge of competition up” behind them on transatlantic routes. In particular, Hayes thinks Delta, United, and American are wrong in claiming that Air Italy, in which Qatar has invested, is a Trojan horse for more Gulf carrier expansion to the U.S.
“It’s actually hard to believe that these three airlines with thousands of airplanes each feel their very existence is threatened by an airline that has only five widebody planes. So it’s not really about Air Italy at all. It’s about starting to put limits and barriers to competition that they continue to benefit and charge very high fares,” Hayes said of the three largest U.S. carriers’ objections to Air Italy’s flights to the U.S.
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