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News Release

Release #01.103
September 26, 2001

ALPA Urges Canadian Government to Provide Financial Aid to Airlines,
Says Relief Should Not Be Provided at the Expense of Labour

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), today called for the Canadian government to provide immediate financial assistance to airlines in Canada to help cover some of the losses incurred after the commercial aviation system was shut down in response to recent terrorist acts in the United States. Capt. Duane Woerth, ALPA president, also urged the government to reconsider the placement of pre-conditions on airline participation in a financial assistance program.

In a letter to Minister of Transport David Collenette, Capt. Woerth said: "The Association understands that the Canadian government is considering performance conditions attached to the receipt of financial aid. These terms are now forcing the airlines to review a variety of means to cut operational expenditures, including analyzing labour costs. It is unfair for labour to be forced to pay the price for its employers’ survival."

Capt. Woerth urged the Canadian government to "offer the same breadth and depth of financial support to its nation’s airlines as the U.S. Congress and the White House have recently approved for U.S. carriers." Canadian airlines are " enduring great financial hardships as the aftershocks to the international aviation economy persist following the mandatory airport closures. Airlines face literally billions of dollars in losses stemming from lost revenues during the shutdown. They face continued losses because of projected lower numbers of passengers traveling by air in the near term. They will be bearing the high costs associated with the implementation of more stringent security procedures."

The government’s financial backing is necessary to "protect and ensure the viability of Canada’s commercial aviation infrastructure during these trying times – and beyond," Capt. Woerth said. "The government must take a lead role in protecting the industry that gives flight to the rest of Canada’s economy. The airlines simply cannot be expected to accomplish this monumental task alone."

ALPA, the world’s oldest and largest pilots union, represents more than 66,000 pilots at 47 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA’s webpage address is cf.alpa.org.


Contact: Michelle Snyder, 703-481-4440