Next Stage in US/EU Negotiations Critical
Capt. Rice Addresses Phoenix Sky Harbor International Aviation Symposium

On May 9, Capt. Paul Rice, ALPA's first vice-president, voiced the association’s adamant opposition to allowing greater foreign control of U.S. airlines. Rice was a member of the opening panel of the 2007 Phoenix Sky Harbor International Aviation Symposium.

The Symposium, which was designed around the theme of “Aviation 2007 – In Search of New Strategies for Success,” gathered 150 of the industry’s top executives and government officials. The two-day meeting also attracted members of the national aviation news media.

The opening panel, titled “International Issues and Global Alliances—The Continuing Evolution,” focused on the new US/EU “Open Skies” agreement, which the governments of the United States and the European Community signed on April 30. Among other topics, the panel addressed possible future action to allow greater foreign control of U.S. airlines.

Rice was joined on the panel by moderator Patrick V. Murphy, a partner in Gerchick-Murphy Associations, LLC; Horst Findeisen, vice-president of business development, STAR Alliance Services GmbH; John Byerly, deputy assistant secretary for transportation affairs of the U.S. State Department; Barry Humphreys, director of external affairs and route development for Virgin Atlantic Airways; and Dorothy Robyn, a principal in The Brattle Group.

“ALPA successfully opposed in Congress certain ownership and control elements under consideration for the new agreement. How does the union feel about the agreement as adopted?” asked panel moderator Patrick Murphy. Rice responded that the pact holds serious implications for national security, Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF), aircraft operations, aviation safety, and labor representation, and that ALPA will remain watchful in all these areas. He underscored ALPA’s particular concerns about how the ownership and franchising provisions will be applied.

“Labor has to be a full partner, or we’re going nowhere,” said Byerly, when asked about how he sees the State Department proceeding in the future on the air services agreement.

ALPA will participate in the Joint Committee that will be established to monitor the implementation of the new agreement and in the next round of negotiations, which is scheduled to commence in mid-2008. ALPA will continue to work with Congress to ensure that the agreement is applied in a manner that does not violate current law.