Release #09.76
October 9, 2009

Airline Alliances Must Treat U.S. and Foreign Workers Equally
ALPA’s Call to Congress Echoed by AFL-CIO’s 32 Unions

WASHINGTON – Capt. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), hailed the 32 unions of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO for today joining in the call for Congress to ensure that U.S. airline workers are treated fairly in alliances between U.S. and foreign airlines.

“Congress must make certain that U.S. airlines conduct a reasonable share of the international flying in all international joint ventures,” said Prater. “Without such a guarantee, an alliance member airline could use its equipment and employees to conduct flying on the most lucrative international routes, relegating U.S. airlines to serve as regional feeders for a foreign company’s global operations.”

Currently, some airline managements seek to do business as though it is unimportant which part of the alliance provides the equipment or workers for particular flight operations, as long as the alliance as a whole captures the customer’s business.

For example, the United Airlines and Aer Lingus joint venture will allow United to begin operating flights between Washington, D.C. and Madrid using only Aer Lingus equipment and crew. United will place its code on Aer Lingus and is expected to receive 50 percent of revenue but without doing any of the flying. Under such circumstances, little incentive exists for the airline to provide crews or equipment for the flights and U.S. jobs are in jeopardy as a result.

ALPA calls on Congress to ensure that the portion of revenue that a U.S. airline receives from an international alliance has a reasonable correlation to the portion of flying that the U.S. airline contributes. In addition, ALPA calls on Congress to require that all airlines apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval of their revenue sharing agreements with foreign airlines.

“With the TTD’s 32 unions now joining our effort, we will collectively pursue all appropriate regulatory, legislative, and legal action to create the standard job protections that U.S. airline workers deserve and have earned,” said Prater. “We urge Congress to pass legislation that compels U.S. airlines to undergo scrutiny by the Department of Transportation when seeking to join an international alliance and to treat U.S. workers fairly once they do.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing nearly 53,500 pilots at 36 airlines in the United States and Canada.


Contact: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or