Keep America Flying Safely and Fairly

In a May 20 speech before the International Aviation Club of Washington, D.C., I affirmed our union’s determined call for North American government leaders and lawmakers to advance the U.S. airline industry and its workers by safeguarding fair competition in the global marketplace and fostering air transportation modernization by passing a clean Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization. 

I took the opportunity to highlight how subsidies received by Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways, and Etihad Airways from their respective governments distort the global marketplace as well as the threat that unusual employment practices pose to the free market, the U.S. airline industry, and U.S. workers’ jobs.

I also made it clear that ALPA is not anti-Open Skies, but the agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar require that the parties provide their airlines with a fair and equal opportunity to compete. The United States should enforce this provision. I urged the administration to respond quickly and open consultations with these two governments to get the facts about their airlines’ finances. I also reinforced ALPA’s request that the U.S. government seek a freeze on current passenger service by these carriers while consultations are under way.

Turning to domestic issues, as the president of the world’s largest pilots union, I called for a clean, on-time FAA reauthorization bill. It must not contain the kinds of extraneous measures that have delayed the bill’s passage in the past. Congress must provide the FAA with the dedicated, stable funding necessary to both fulfill its mandate and also move ahead with its vital work to enhance safety and system efficiency as well as modernization programs like NextGen.

The focus needs to fall without distraction on maintaining and enhancing safety in the upcoming FAA reauthorization. Some are calling for shorter timelines, reduced oversight, and rolling back safety standards for first officer qualifications and pilot fatigue. But if our industry is to safeguard passengers, air cargo shippers, and flight crews, we cannot tolerate anything less than the highest possible safety standards.

At ALPA, we work to keep America flying safely, but we also want to keep it flying fairly.

Categories: Advocacy, Safety, Speech