Release #: 17.25
June 06, 2017

DOJ Must Examine Middle Eastern State-Owned Airlines’ Illegal Lobbying Charge

WASHINGTON––In a letter sent today to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) called for an investigation into the U.S. Travel Association’s possible failure to comply with U.S. law and disclose that its political activities on behalf of Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways are funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government.

“The American public deserves to know whether U.S. Travel is acting on their behalf or is funded by a foreign government with a direct financial interest in ensuring that Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways receive special treatment from the U.S. government,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, ALPA’s president.

The U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act and the U.S. Lobbying Disclosure Act require U.S. agents of foreign governments to register with the DOJ and disclose the names of any organization that contributes more than $5,000 or actively participates in lobbying and political activities. U.S. Travel has not registered or supplied such information to the DOJ with respect to the UAE, despite publicly available material indicating that it receives funding from the UAE government through its state-owned and controlled airlines.

The U.S.–UAE Air Transport Agreement contains a provision that guarantees a “fair and equal opportunity to compete” for air traffic. Despite this provision, the UAE has over the last 10 years provided billions of dollars in subsidies to its state-owned carriers, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways, giving those airlines an unfair competitive advantage over U.S. airlines and U.S. workers. ALPA is leading a call by U.S. airlines and labor for the Trump administration to address this subsidized air service to the United States and restore fair competition for U.S. workers.

“The Department of Justice must do its duty to ensure that U.S. Travel complies with U.S. law designed to make certain that the American public has full information about foreign governments’ seeking to influence U.S. officials and policy,” said Capt. Canoll.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 57,000 pilots at 33 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


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