ALPA pilots work to prevent preclearance expansion

As the House and Senate begin work on their respective FY15 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill, ALPA is calling on legislators to restrict DHS’ plans to expand Customs and Border Protection preclearance sites to locations overseas that provide no benefit to U.S. airlines or passengers.  In early 2014, over Congressional and industry opposition, a CBP preclearance facility began operation at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a location where no U.S. air carrier flies and where only a state-owned foreign airline will benefit from the U.S. taxpayer-funded program. Now DHS is considering expanding its Middle Eastern preclearance operations to Dubai, Doha, and beyond. These facilities provide no benefit to U.S. carriers, despite being funded in part by U.S. tax dollars. Instead, DHS’ plans will only benefit state-owned Gulf carriers, who already receive billions of dollars in subsidies from their home countries.

ALPA has written Congress to explain why this is harmful to U.S. pilots and ALPA staff and pilots have been hard at work on Capitol Hill urging Members to restrict funding for new preclearance sites that do not make sense for U.S. passengers and U.S. airlines.

ALPA members, friends, and members of the public are also encouraged to join this effort.   Please write Congress here and tell them to oppose the expansion of preclearance facilities that do not benefit U.S. interests!

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European Parliament Votes Against Expansion of EU-ETS

Today, the European Parliament voted to end its plans to expand its carbon taxing scheme to U.S. and other international flights that enter EU airspace.  ALPA applauds the European Parliament for allowing work to continue on a global solution to aviation emissions.  ALPA has long opposed the imposition of the EU-Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) on U.S. airlines. The sole purpose of the EU-ETS was to increase general revenues for EU countries while costing U.S. jobs and doing nothing to reduce emissions from aviation.

ALPA and industry representatives have played a leading role in pushing back against the EU-ETS.  In 2012, ALPA and U.S. airlines reached out to Senators Thune (R-SD) and McCaskill (D-MO) for assistance.  The Senators introduced the bipartisan EU-ETS Prohibition Act on our behalf, which President Obama signed into law in December of 2012.

Chamberaviationsummit

As Captain Moak and U.S. and E.U. airline CEO’s stated this afternoon at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 12th Annual Aviation Summit, aviation is the only industry to voluntarily come together globally to address carbon emissions and develop a path forward that creates a sustainable global aviation industry.ALPA has also commended recent actions by ICAO to move forward with the formulation of a Global Emissions Reduction Plan and reject the inclusion of commercial aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS).


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Senate Leaders Take The #DenyNAI Message to DOT Secretary

On March 12, a bipartisan group of Senate leaders sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging the secretary to carefully consider the ramifications and legality of granting Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) request for a foreign air carrier permit. ALPA applauds Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) for their leadership in spearheading this letter and for taking a stand against NAI’s “flag of convenience” business practice that would not only undermine U.S. labor standards, but would also threaten tens of thousands of U.S. airline jobs.

If NAI succeeds with its “flag of convenience” business model—choosing where they do business based on advantageous legal or regulatory environments—the company will wield an enormous unfair economic advantage over U.S. airlines, making it more difficult for U.S. airlines and their employees to compete in the international marketplace. This would severely threaten our industry and our jobs, and negatively affect the U.S. airline industry’s contributions to our economy.

Thirty-eight U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle have joined business and aviation leaders, the aviation community, and the 25,000-plus #denyNAI citizen cosponsors in our fight to protect our industry, jobs, and economy. Our numbers are growing by the day and, with the facts on our side, we are once again urging the Obama administration to swiftly reject NAI’s evasive scheme.

READ THE LETTER HERE:

Letter to Secretary Foxx

TAKE ACTION:

Tell the U.S. Department of Transportation to Protect American Jobs and #denyNAI

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ALPA and Emirates Find Common Ground in Opposition to Persian Gulf CBP Preclearance Facilities

Today Emirates President Tim Clark concurred with statements made by ALPA regarding a potential Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Dubai International Airport. According to the Wall Street Journal, Clark thinks that “the long-term solution to prolonged wait times at U.S. airports would be an improvement in staff and systems by U.S. authorities at domestic Customs posts, not facilities elsewhere [a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Dubai International Airport]. ‘Surely that’s the way,’ he said.”

Clark explained that establishing a CBP preclearance facility in Dubai would create a “logistical nightmare” that would “create a far larger logistical challenge” than existing U.S. CBP preclearance facilities in locations such as Canada, Ireland, and the Caribbean.

ALPA has long cautioned that CBP preclearance facilities in the Persian Gulf would be detrimental to the U.S. airline industry and adamantly opposed the Abu Dhabi preclearance facility that began operations in January 2014.

Airlines for America (A4A) also agrees with opposition voiced by ALPA regarding preclearance facilities in the region. The airline trade group said Tuesday, “We agree [with Clark], and believe the U.S. government needs to use its resources to resolve wait times at U.S. gateways before building and staffing preclearance facilities overseas—fix it here first.”

There are currently no U.S. airlines that fly to Abu Dhabi, and ALPA asserts that preclearance facilities in locations that do not benefit U.S. carriers act only to further promote an unlevel playing field for the U.S. airline industry and its workers.

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ALPA Welcomes House Introduction of New Airfare Transparency Bill

ticket

ALPA applauded bipartisan legislation introduced in the House today that seeks to restore the transparency of airline ticket advertisement. The Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R 4156) will improve transparency in airfare advertising by allowing advertisements for passenger air travel to list the base airfare and separately declare additional government-imposed taxes and fees.

The bill was introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), Senior Committee Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), and Aviation Subcommittee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA).

In January 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced the regulation that prohibits airfare advertisements from highlighting the base cost of an airline ticket, mandating instead that the total cost of airfare, including government-imposed taxes and fees be included in the single price shown to the consumer.

ALPA supports the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014, which further builds on previous airfare transparency efforts by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA), because it allows consumers to see the full breakdown of their ticket costs, thereby removing the often misplaced blame that airlines receive regarding airfare increases. Government-imposed taxes and fees typically constitute 21 percent of the total ticket cost, which the misguided DOT regulation hides from consumers.

Read the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R 4156) here.

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Support the Saracini Aviation Safety Act

Captain Lee Moak sent a letter today to Members of Congress urging support for HR 1775, the Saracini Aviation Safety Act of 2013.

Saracini Aviation Safety Act FINAL

In 2001, Congress mandated the installation of reinforced cockpit doors on most commercial aircraft as the first step toward preventing another 9/11-style breach of the cockpit. Airlines are required to use procedures to protect the cockpit when the reinforced door is opened during flight for pilots’ meals, restroom use, and other reasons.  To provide better security, secondary barriers were developed to block access to the cockpit whenever the cockpit door is open during flight.  Voluntary airline industry movement toward adopting secondary barriers began in 2003, but commitment to deploying these devices has since waned. The Saracini Aviation Safety Act is a bipartisan bill that simply fulfills the intent of Congress from more than a decade ago to make cockpits more secure.

ALPA is asking all pilots to tell their representatives to cosponsor this bill today.  ALPA members can write their representatives using our call to action system here!

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One Level of Safety for All Pilots Now: Pass the Safe Skies Act.

Yesterday ALPA safety representatives attended the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigative hearing into UPS Flight 1354, an all-cargo flight which crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., on August 14, 2013.

Pilot fatigue emerged as a focus area during the investigative hearing. Investigative materials from yesterday’s NTSB hearing discussed crew schedule and pairing for UPS pilots Captain Cerea Beal Jr. and First Officer Shanda Fanning.  While the first part of the pairing through the accident flight was consistent with the new flight and duty regulations, FAR part 117, this was only coincidence.  Because of the loophole in Part 117, UPS, like all cargo carriers, is not required to create schedules consistent with the improvement in safety provided by these science-based standards and programs.  The FAA erroneously excluded cargo from the new science-based flight and duty time regulations, and ALPA has been working diligently to correct this error with the passage of legislation, the Safe Skies Act, which would include cargo in the new rest rules.

The investigative hearing and docket material showed that fatigue is a factor in the cargo industry, especially based on their business model of flying predominately at night.  Evidence presented during the hearing, including comments made by the crew members and recorded on the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder indicate that the crew may have been suffering from chronic fatigue.  Because this airline, like all FAR 121 cargo operations, is not required to comply with the new FAR 117 flight and duty regulations it is likely that the airline scheduling practices and pairings caused the chronic fatigue suffered by this crew.

If all-cargo operations fell under the purview of FAR 117 like their passenger-carrying counterparts, the pilots at UPS would be given pairings that are less conducive to fatigue, and that may have helped prevent accidents like UPS Flight 1354 from occurring.

It is time that we moved forward on One Level of Safety for ALL operations – a Pilot is a Pilot – and we are not immune to fatigue based on the payload in the back of our aircraft.  ALPA calls on The Administration and Congress for immediate passage of the Safe Skies Act of 2013, which would end the “cargo carve-out” and help ensure that every pilot is a well-rested pilot.

Read the ALPA statement regarding this investigative hearing here.

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