Release #: 21.44
July 29, 2021

ALPA Applauds Bipartisan Action to Protect U.S. Aviation Jobs, Keep Flying Safe

Bills Aimed at Preventing Flag-of-Convenience Airlines Advance in House of Representatives

McLEAN, Va.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), the world’s largest pilots union, applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for advancing legislation that would ensure a fair opportunity for U.S. airlines to compete globally and protect American jobs by enfranchising rights of U.S. workers within our aviation trade agreements and putting an end to unfair “flag of convenience” business practices by foreign airlines intending to serve U.S. markets.

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill, which contained a bipartisan amendment introduced by representatives Kai Kahele (D-HI), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Jack Bergman (R-MI) that instructs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to assess whether any new foreign air carrier that plans to operate into the United States is in violation of current U.S. statutes and international air transport agreements.

“ALPA pilots have been calling on the U.S. Government to put a stop to any foreign airline business scheme that undermines labor rights, safety, and the competitiveness of our nation’s airline industry. We are grateful for the leadership and commitment to aviation demonstrated by the amendment’s sponsors to help level the playing field and keep our skies safe,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president.

In addition to the passage of the THUD bill, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee this week also advanced the Fair and Open Skies Act, H.R. 3095, sponsored by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Don Bacon (R-NE), Kai Kahele (D-HI), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Conor Lamb (D-PA), and Bill Johnson (D-OH) which will ensure that foreign airlines flying to the United States are held to the same standard of competition as U.S. air carriers flying internationally by requiring the DOT to cement the rights of U.S. workers in the basic structure of this country’s air services agreements. Strong worker protections have positioned the U.S. pilot workforce to help create and contribute to a risk-predictive safety culture that has made the U.S. air transportation system the safest in the world.

“Foreign airlines seeking a permit to fly to the United States cannot be allowed to do so at the expense of U.S. workers, whose rights, wages, and working conditions must all be protected. By upholding a foundation of workers’ rights in U.S. international aviation policy and imposing labor protective conditions before permitting a foreign airline to serve the United States, the DOT can protect fair wages and working conditions for American workers while enhancing safety for the flying public,” added DePete.

The need for action to prevent the propagation of flag-of-convenience air carriers has never been greater, which is why hundreds of ALPA pilots flooded Congress this week with calls to their representatives. Without government action, U.S. aviation jobs are at risk of being lost to foreign competitors intent on utilizing the same flag-of-convenience model that decimated the U.S. maritime industry. Commercial aviation contributes over 5 percent to U.S. GDP and supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in communities large and small.

THUD now waits for Senate action while the Fair and Open Skies Act advances to a full House floor vote. 

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 59,000 pilots at 35 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @ALPAPilots.


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