January 31, 2006
Bush Appointees Failed Congress, Airlines, and Workers
ATSB “profit” is an insult to pilots and others who gave billions
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), issued the following statement on the Air Transportation Stabilization Board’s prediction of a $300 million profit for 2006. Congress authorized the ATSB to provide loan guarantees to airlines struggling in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Tonight, President Bush will report on the State of the Union. One thing he will not mention, however, is how his administration has failed to support the airline industry and its workers.
“The latest proof is the ATSB’s disclosure of an outrageous anticipated profit of $300 million. This profit is an insult to every airline employee who has contributed to the billions in pay concessions and has endured severe reductions or total loss of their pensions, all while working longer hours and paying more for health care.
“Congress charged the ATSB with reinforcing the airline industry as it recovered from the devastating blows wrought by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The shutdown of the U.S. airspace system and dramatic fall-off in air traffic in the wake of 9/11 created an economic disaster for the industry.
“Like other disasters, both natural and economic, Americans turned to the federal government for assistance. Congress authorized the ATSB to issue $10 billion in loan guarantees to help the reeling airline industry, especially United Airlines and American Airlines, who lost four aircraft and 33 valiant employees on that horrific day. The ATSB has utterly failed to deliver. It has withheld 84 percent of these funds, making only $1.6 billion in loan guarantees to a handful of carriers.
“On top of its failure, the ATSB is now crowing about turning a profit on their inaction. It is the height of cynical hypocrisy for them to boast about a profit largely based on the ATSB’s remarketing of these loans, as well as the sale of airline stock and warrants they received from the few airlines that did obtain a guarantee. Imagine what their profit would have been had they aided United in its darkest hours and now owned UAL stock. The political appointees who oversaw this program should hide in shame.”
ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, or firstname.lastname@example.org.