Release #13.67
December 12, 2013

ALPA: New Etihad Service to Dallas Fort Worth Opens Another New Threat to U.S. Aviation Jobs

WASHINGTON—Today’s announcement by Etihad Airways that the airline will be offering service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), coming on the heels of last week’s announcement that Qatar Airways would begin service to DFW in 2014, underscores the growing penetration of state-supported Middle Eastern airlines into large and important U.S. markets. With each new route into the United States by state-owned air carriers, an already unlevel playing field tilts even further in favor of foreign carriers, and, in the case of Etihad, the situation is made dramatically worse by U.S. government policy actively promoting the foreign carrier to the detriment of U.S. carriers and U.S. jobs.

Last year, the U.S. government signed an agreement to establish a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport despite congressional opposition. No U.S. carrier currently flies between Abu Dhabi and the United States—the only carrier with such service is Etihad. Passengers traveling to the United States from the United Arab Emirates could clear U.S. customs in Abu Dhabi before departure, fly on Etihad to the United States, and then quickly connect to a flight anywhere else in the United States.

“A preclearance facility supported by our government in Abu Dhabi clearly benefits only Etihad,” said Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA). “This situation presents a very clear and distinct marketing advantage for Etihad and gives them a clear competitive edge over our U.S. flagship carriers in the global marketplace. It’s essential that our government not provide unfair and unjustifiable advantages—as this preclearance facility would do—to foreign airlines which directly compete on an unlevel playing field against U.S. airlines.”

Further, much of Etihad’s state-of-the-art fleet is made up of Boeing widebody jets purchased at below-market interest rates unavailable to U.S. carriers, yet backed by the U.S. taxpayer through the U.S. Export-Import Bank. The taxpayer-backed financing results in millions of dollars in savings over U.S. carriers and results in U.S. airlines and their employees facing a competitive disadvantage lasting for years, if not decades.

“U.S. government leaders must reform harmful policies and make certain that the United States gives its airlines a fair fight in competing to win international travelers’ business,” said Moak.

ALPA highlights the growing threat of state-sponsored foreign competition and underscores the need for fundamental changes in laws and regulations that govern the U.S. airline industry and its employees in its comprehensive report “Leveling the Playing Field.” The report calls on the U.S. government to promote a business environment that gives U.S. carriers the ability to compete and prevail in the international marketplace, especially given the strong competitive cost advantages of many foreign carriers.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


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