The reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank has become a political football in recent months, with partisans on both sides leveraging the issue to score political points—at the expense of U.S. workers. Some Democrats are calling for a “clean” reauthorization of the Bank (a continuation of the Bank’s programs and an increase in its lending cap), while a segment of the Republican caucus wants to let the Bank’s authorization expire. ALPA is advocating for a middle ground—a pragmatic approach that is good for all U.S. workers. We have maintained that targeted, moderate reforms to the Bank to specifically address its widebody aircraft lending practices will give U.S. airlines a level playing field on which to compete with foreign airlines in the global marketplace and position U.S. aviation workers for success.
And there is a path. When ALPA’s president, Captain Lee Moak, testified in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, he joined a panel of witnesses invited by both sides of the aisle. While everyone came with prepared testimony on whether or how the Bank should be reauthorized, every witness agreed that targeted reforms are appropriate.
Authorizing the Bank with commonsense reforms is the right thing to do for thousands of small businesses that rely on the Bank to help them sell their products abroad. By its charter, the Bank is intended to be a lender of last resort for U.S. businesses. The same can’t be said, however, for loans for widebody aircraft, and a disproportionate amount of the Bank’s business finances multibillion-dollar widebody aircraft purchases for foreign airlines that simply don’t need it. Financially solvent Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates, Etihad Airways, and others are taking advantage of below-market financing at a rate of millions of dollars over the life of an aircraft.
Not only does this undercut the U.S. airline industry’s ability to compete globally, it also shifts industry economics by allowing foreign carriers to make business decisions outside of the business capital markets and economic conditions dictated on U.S. and European airlines. Clearly, this is not the mission of the Bank. We must work together toward a commonsense solution that reauthorizes the Bank this year and helps create a level playing field for all U.S. workers.
Tell Congress that the Bank should be reauthorized this year with targeted, moderate reforms to stop the Bank from financing widebody aircraft to credit-worthy and state-owned or state-supported foreign airlines. ALPA pilots can take action in the Call to Action now!
Visit www.alpa.org/issues for more information.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives took action to restore airfare transparency by passing the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R. 4156). The bill overturns the 2012 regulation, instituted by the Department of Transportation (DOT) that prohibits airfare advertisements from providing full disclosure of government imposed taxes and fees on the actual cost of an airline ticket. This misguided policy effectively hid the magnitude of government imposed taxes and fees from consumers, which typically constitute 21 percent of the total ticket cost, hurting our passengers’ wallets, U.S. airlines, and airline workers.
We commend Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) for his strong leadership and applaud the House for its diligent work to advance this important legislation.
H.R. 4156 restores airfare transparency by allowing consumers to see the full breakdown of their ticket costs. At a time when U.S. airlines are forced to compete with foreign carriers on an unlevel playing field, this common sense legislation will help secure a future for the hundreds of thousands of jobs that the U.S. airline industry supports. We urge the Senate to follow suit so that consumers will have the benefit of knowing exactly where their hard-earned dollars are going.
Click here to read our press release
ALPA Applauds House Actions to Restore Airfare Transparency
Click here to learn more about H.R. 4156
H.R. 4156: Transparent Airfares Act of 2014
On Wednesday, June 25, watch ALPA President, Captain Lee Moak, testify at the House Committee on Financial Services hearing, where he and others will discuss the authorization of the Export Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). With the Bank’s current authorization expiring on September 30, now is the time for this committee to ensure the Bank operates with maximum transparency, uses proper economic modeling, and analyzes the potential of its widebody aircraft financing to harm U.S. industry and threaten U.S. jobs.
With nearly 45 percent of the Bank’s portfolio tied to one company, widebody aircraft financing reform tops the list of items to address. In 2013, the Ex-Im Bank approved $7.9 billion in financing for U.S.-made airliners, operated by U.S. airlines’ competitors—including Etihad Airways and Norwegian Air Shuttle, creating an economic advantage of more than $3 million per airplane per year. Given the record aircraft orders at the Dubai airshow in 2013, it is imperative that ALPA is successful in changing the way the Bank does business with state subsidized competitors. Read more about the reforms to the Bank that help level the playing field for pilots. Airline jobs are at stake.
On Monday, June 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to side with ALPA and Deny NAI. Now the fight moves to the U.S. Senate and all ALPA members are encouraged to participate in our new call to action for ALPA members and the general public urging Senators to vote for the Klobuchar-Coats-Schatz-Blunt Amendment.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dan Coats (R-IN), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) plans to introduce an amendment to the Senate’s FY 2015 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act (THUD) when the bill reaches the floor sometime the week of June 16 which would mirror the successful Deny NAI amendment that passed the House last week. The Westmoreland-DeFazio Amendment to the House THUD bill simply reiterates current law, mandating that in order for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to approve a foreign air carrier permit, it must 1) be in the U.S. public interest and 2) comply with Article 17 bis of the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement which prevents airlines from moving from one EU country to another for the purpose of evading labor laws.
The unanimous House vote in favor of the Westmoreland-DeFazio Amendment is a testament to strong power of ALPA pilots’ collective voice. NAI’s scheme threatens the future of the U.S. airline industry which is a driver of $1.3 trillion to our GDP. It also threatens U.S. jobs which is why pilots must engage! To understand the threat, watch ALPA President, Captain Lee Moak’s video message. And participate in ALPA’s Call to Action Deny NAI #2 now (general public here)!
Participate in the Call to Action now, call your Senator through the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 and urge them to vote for the Klobuchar-Coats-Schatz-Blunt Amendment to the THUD bill, AND tell your friends and colleagues to sign, call and tweet support for the Klobuchar-Coats-Schatz-Blunt Amendment. Together, we will #DenyNAI.