May 3, 2006
ALPA: Congress Must Legislate Changes to
Foreign Investment in U.S. Airlines
Supplemental NPRM issued by DOT still amounts to law making
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Capt. Duane E. Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, issued the following statement today:
“The Department of Transportation’s latest move to change the rules governing foreign control of U.S. airlines is one more effort to evade Congress.
“Although the DOT takes pains to deny it, the so-called ‘supplemental rule’ issued today is an obvious ploy to appease European aviation interests, call Congress’s bluff, and run out the clock on the policy’s critics. But Congress has said clearly that it wants to debate and decide on any change to these important rules, and the Senate will soon hold a hearing on the subject. Congress is fully aware that this change will have profound consequences for our economy, our national defense, and our workers. The DOT has to decide what matters more--U.S. or EU interests.
“While ALPA is closely analyzing the details of the latest rule, it is clear from the DOT press release that the Department has made some dangerously naïve assumptions. First, erecting a firewall around safety and security operations within the corporate governance of a U.S. airline is simply not possible. Second, as a former member of a board of directors, I can assure you that the dominant investor wields the power to appoint and remove directors, no matter what the fine print of federal regulations may say.
“It’s time for the DOT to halt this misguided effort and let Congress act. One-hundred-eighty-seven members of the U.S. House have co-sponsored H.R. 4542, which would prohibit the DOT from issuing a final rule for one year and would direct the Department to bring the proposal before Congress. Language in the Senate Supplemental Appropriations bill passed by the Committee earlier this month would prohibit the DOT from spending any funds to issue or to implement the proposal before Oct. 1, 2006. The Senate will hold a committee hearing on May 9, 2006, which follows the hearing that the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee held in February.
“Congress must not allow this back-door effort to strip the language stopping the DOT’s efforts out of the Supplemental Appropriations bill. Congress must stand firm in its resolve to bring this flawed proposal--with all of its implications for jobs, safety, security, and the nation’s defense--out into the light of day.”
ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. The text of ALPA’s submission to the original NPRM can be found at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: Linda Shotwell, John Mazor, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org