Release #14.05
January 14, 2014

Congress Picks Favorites—Chooses State-Owned Foreign Companies Over U.S. Aviation Workforce
U.S. Airline Industry Workforce Steamrolled in Omnibus Appropriations Bill on CBP Preclearance Handouts to Foreign Competitors

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following statement in response to congressional appropriators’ decision to fund a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi and opens the door for future preclearance facilities that could put U.S. carriers at a competitive disadvantage.

“The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 represents another disappointing example of bad U.S. government policy that promotes the offshoring of U.S. airline industry jobs. By allowing a CBP preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport, where no U.S. air carrier currently flies, the U.S. government is handing a state-subsidized airline, Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major competitive advantage over U.S. airlines. At the same time, the funding of this facility drains taxpayer money that would be better used to improve customs facilities at major U.S. airports.

“In this legislation, the U.S. Congress made a decision to forgo proposed language that was widely endorsed by industry and labor in the bipartisan Meehan-DeFazio bill (H.R. 3488), which has 133 cosponsors. That legislation would have required that the U.S. government perform an analysis of the potential effect on U.S. airlines and CBP staffing before it could establish a new preclearance facility.

“Instead, the omnibus appropriations bill contains fatally flawed language that falls far short of what Congress said it would ensure for any future CBP facility and not put the U.S. airline industry and its employees at a competitive disadvantage globally or risk U.S. airline industry jobs. As written, the omnibus appropriations bill now merely provides an open-ended approval for future sites, regardless of the competitive harm they may cause to the U.S. airline industry and its employees. This is legislating at its worst. Are we really in a place where it is acceptable to acquiesce to foreign business requests at the expense of U.S. companies, U.S. workers, and reasoned federal policy?

“The 50,000 pilots of ALPA will not remain silent in our opposition to this misappropriation of federal resources. We will continue to advocate for swift passage of the bipartisan Meehan-DeFazio legislation, and will continue our collaboration with lawmakers and aviation industry stakeholders to protect U.S. airline industry jobs, national security, and economic interests.”

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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