Release #07.050
October 12, 2007

Pilots Protest Railroad Subsidies

OTTAWA—The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) denounced Transport Canada today for its decision to subsidize VIA Rail Canada, Inc., with $691 million, while excessive airport rent, fuel excise taxes, and security costs burden the country’s airline industry.

“It’s time to treat all modes of transportation equally, especially in a country as big as Canada,” said Capt. Dan Adamus, president of the ALPA Canada Board. “Air travel is not a luxury—it is necessary to do business and will only serve to strengthen our economy. The government’s regressive taxation approach toward aviation needs to be overhauled.”

Depressed revenues and higher costs undermine the airline industry’s immediate prospects for recovery, while thousands of airline workers in both Canada and the United States have suffered displacement, wage cuts, and worsening working conditions.

“The federal government must understand that the airline industry is not a cash cow, and that subsidizing one form of transportation while excessively taxing another only punishes those Canadians who fly in and out of their rural communities,” said Adamus. “Transport Canada set a $691 million precedent this week—and we expect air transport to be next in line.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 cockpit crewmembers at 41 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at for more information.

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CONTACT: Pete Janhunen, Linda Shotwell, Molly Martin, (703) 481-4440