July 11, 2008
Pilots Demand End to “Rampant Speculation” on
ALPA President joins industry coalition, appeals to Congress to act now
WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l today continued to press Congressional leaders to act quickly to restore sanity to the out-of-control oil market. ALPA President Capt. John Prater attended a morning press event at the National Press Club before testifying before the House Agriculture Committee to make a direct appeal to legislators to rein in runaway fuel costs.
“Pilots are calling a ‘Mayday’ on oil speculation,” Prater told more than 30 members of the news media gathered at the NPC, driving home the fact that America’s leaders must take control of energy market speculation – most of it driven by private, non-energy related investors – that is pushing fuel prices through the roof.
“The fact is that oil prices are driving our industry into the ground,” Prater added. “After 9/11, pilots and other employees sacrificed billions of dollars to save our airlines, not to line the pockets of hedge fund managers. Congress needs to act soon to ensure that our industry returns to its proper place in the economy and workers have a real future in it.”
Prater joined other industry leaders as part of the Stop Oil Speculation Now (S.O.S Now) coalition (www.StopOilSpeculationNow.com), a group of 38 organizations that have banded together to push for effective short-, mid- and long-term solutions to help materially reduce unnecessarily high energy prices.
Analysts generally rate the impact of oil speculation at $20 to $60 per barrel, according to S.O.S. Now. That translates to between $0.48 and $1.43 at the gas pump. In recent months, the number of ‘paper barrels’ traded by speculators has risen dramatically, peaking at 22 times the physical market on June 6, when crude oil shot up $11 in one session. That spike came immediately on the heels of a prediction of $150 per barrel oil by one of the speculators with the most to gain by the increase.
In addition to its mid- and long-term supply and conservation elements, the coalition is calling for Congress to push for lower prices immediately by:
Later today, Capt. Prater testified on Capitol Hill, where he called for rapid enactment of legislation that will bring rationality to the oil markets and close the loopholes that encourage speculators to trade U.S. energy supplies up to 20 times for each barrel of oil consumed. He appeared before the House Committee on Agriculture, which held the hearing on the Impact of Excessive Speculation on Commodity Trading.
“In order for the airline industry to survive and continue to provide the world’s safest transportation system, we must address this problem now,” Prater testified, “The Commodity Futures Trading Commission needs a night stick if it hopes to police speculators’ manipulation of U.S. energy commodity markets, but Congress has to act before its August recess.”
“As our airlines cut service and go out of business, airlines across the globe are quickly gaining a competitive edge that cuts deeper than gains in market share. U.S. pilots who stand to lose their jobs are taking their skills abroad, working for airlines that offer more pay and a better life. Congress must restore competitive balance by moving quickly.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 55,000 cockpit crewmembers at 40 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit www.alpa.org for more information.
# # #
ALPA CONTACTS: Pete Janhunen, Molly Martin, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org