April 4, 2006
ALPA Hails U.S. Senate for Delaying Proposal to Allow Foreign Control of U.S. Airlines
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today’s U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee vote to delay a Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal that would allow foreign control of U.S. airlines is an “undeniable signal that Congress is united in opposing this radical change because of its implications for our country’s airline industry, national defense, and jobs,” according to the President of the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. Today’s Senate action is similar in purpose to language that the U.S. House of Representatives adopted last month directing DOT not to issue a final rule for 120 days.
“Both houses of Congress have spoken with one voice against this misguided effort,” said ALPA President Capt. Duane Woerth. “Today’s action puts the DOT on notice that any attempt to change the law that prohibits foreign control of U.S. airlines must come before Congress.”
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill, which the Senate Appropriations Committee passed by voice vote today. The legislation prohibits the expenditure of funds for implementing DOT’s proposal through October 1, 2006.
“Sen. Inouye (D-HI) and Sen. Stevens (R-AK) led the charge in making certain that Congress is given the opportunity to fully scrutinize the DOT’s effort to overturn longstanding policy,” continued Woerth.
In the U.S. House, more than 170 members have now co-sponsored H.R.4542, which was introduced by the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, Rep. Don Young (R-AK); Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN); Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ); and others. The legislation would prevent the DOT from proceeding with any rulemaking and order the agency to bring the matter before Congress.
ALPA adamantly objects to the DOT proposal because:
It violates federal law prohibiting foreign control
A foreign airline could change a U.S. carrier’s schedules, pricing, etc., to feed its own international operations, to the detriment of the U.S. airline and it employees
For similar reasons, the U.S. airline’s ability to furnish aircraft suitable for the U.S. military’s CRAF program could be reduced
U.S. workers might not have the same labor law protections that are available in the U.S. if a foreign owner began to play them off against workers in a different country
Aviation safety could be reduced because the proposed rule requires that foreign-controlled management meet only minimum FAA standards, whereas the enviable safety record of U.S. airlines is the result of voluntary participation in programs and practices that go well beyond minimum requirements
Because of a provision in many bilateral aviation agreements, any U.S. airline under foreign control could be disqualified from providing service under those agreements
The DOT has not demonstrated a need for foreign investment in U.S. airlines, nor has it shown that investment will not occur absent such a change
ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. The text of ALPA’s submission can be found at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Linda Shotwell, John Mazor, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org