February 10, 2005
Pilots Union: Defending America Means Defending Airliners
Proposed security taxes threaten struggling industry and U.S. jobs
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), has issued the following statement on the Administration's proposed $1.5 billion increase in security taxes.
"Homeland security is just that: defense of the homeland, the entire nation, and all of its cities and citizens. Singling out one industry this disproportionately is patently unfair. It is time for a new approach--and it starts with funding national security out of the general treasury.
"Pilots were among the first victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Each day, as we pursue our passion to fly the line, we know that we are also on the front lines of aviation security.
"No one understands better than pilots how essential it is to secure this nation's aviation system. In addition to protecting passengers, crews and cargo, a secure air transportation system helps ensure economic prosperity and more than 11 million jobs in this country. A secure U.S. aviation system is also a living memorial to the pilots, flight attendants and all who fell in the line of duty on 9/11 by doing all we can to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
"While the terrorist attacks dramatically affected aviation, the security measures that resulted defend our nation, not our industry. America, not four individual airliners, was attacked on 9/11.
"But more is at stake here. The idea of saddling an industry that is already hemorrhaging billions of dollars with another $1.5 billion in taxes defies common sense.
"Federal taxes and fees already constitute as much as 40 percent of a domestic roundtrip ticket, more than consumers pay in federal consumption taxes on alcohol, tobacco or gasoline.
"Pilots--ALPA members--have invested billions in concessions so that their managements can restore a healthy bottom line to our industry. All our efforts will fail under the weight of this exorbitant taxation.
"The challenges our airlines face are serious enough without these taxes. Managements have many issues to address: fare wars, web distribution, and planning for rising fuel costs, and easing over-capacity in the wrong markets. They cannot do their jobs with another $1.5 billion sucked out of their revenue.
"We clearly need to chart a new course that enables our country to both secure aviation transportation and rebuild this industry--it starts with funding national security out of the general treasury."
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing 64,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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