June 9, 2014
ALPA Lauds U.S. House Action to Block Federal
Transportation Funds from Skewing Marketplace against U.S. Airlines
Would Block U.S. Foreign Air Carrier Permits for Flag-of-Convenience Models Such As NAI
WASHINGTON––The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) commends an amendment passed unanimously by voice vote today by the U.S. House of Representatives that would help safeguard the U.S. airline industry’s ability to compete on a level playing field by making certain that federal transportation funds are not used to grant foreign airlines that violate U.S. law or the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement access to U.S. markets.
“Thanks to the tremendous leadership of Rep. Westmoreland and Rep. DeFazio, this amendment specifically prohibits shopping for cheap labor and simply requires the Department of Transportation to follow the law and provisions agreed to in the U.S.-EU Transport Agreement,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “Congress has a responsibility to make sure that U.S. airlines do business in a fair marketplace and that the U.S. government’s transportation funds don’t hand an advantage to foreign airlines that try to cheat the system.”
Introduced by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the amendment to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (H.R. 4745) stipulates that none of the funds in the bill may be used to approve a foreign air carrier permit or application “where such approval would contravene United States law or Article 17 bis of the U.S.-E.U.-Iceland-Norway Air Transport Agreement.”
The amendment passed today would prevent the Department of Transportation from approving Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) foreign air carrier permit application because the airline’s operations would contradict the U.S.–EU Air Transport Agreement, which specifically prohibits any efforts to undermine labor standards.
Despite the fact that Norwegian Air Shuttle, NAI’s parent company, has centered its operations in Norway and that NAI does not plan to fly to or from Ireland, the company has gained permission from Ireland to operate its long-haul flights as an Irish airline expressly to avoid Norway’s employment laws. With an Irish air operator certificate, NAI will outsource its flight crews through a Singapore employment company using individual contracts with wages well below those of the company’s Norway-based employees.
“By passing this amendment that blocks the Norwegian Air International scheme and any similar bid to contravene the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement, the U.S. House has taken a strong stand for fair competition for U.S. airlines,” said Capt. Moak. “We urge the U.S. Senate to support the U.S. House position and send a clear signal that Congress is committed to ensuring U.S. airlines and their employees do business on a level playing field.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 51,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.
CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or Media@alpa.org
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