Pilots to Congress: No More Politics with Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The House Takes Action to Restore Airfare Transparency

Btpn2ltCcAAR7GxToday, 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

 

Posted in Aviaiton Taxes and Fees | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Case for a Middle Ground on Ex-Im

1087-ExIm-Bank-Hearing-Graphic-Poster-062514---top updateIn Washington, the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) has become a prime and significant policy discussion among members of Congress and all stakeholders involved. Each day that Congress debates whether or not we should reauthorize the bank, we potentially hurt our chances to protect U.S. jobs and U.S. businesses. The decision need not be black or white. There is solid and sensible middle ground where everyone can win.

For months, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l has been meeting with lawmakers as well as reporters covering Ex-Im. In all of our meetings and interviews, we have consistently made our position clear: Reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, but with reasonable, narrow, targeted reforms that eliminate the financing of widebody aircraft to creditworthy airlines and foreign airlines that are state-owned or state-supported. Why? Because the Bank in its current form provides an economic advantage to our foreign, state-funded competitors, on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime, ultimately harming U.S. aviation workers.

If Congress reauthorizes the Ex-Im Bank with our targeted reforms, it will ensure fair competition for all U.S. workers and level the playing field for U.S. airlines by safeguarding airline jobs and continuing the Bank’s work to promote U.S. goods and services in international markets.

The latest news:

For more on the Ex-Im Bank, please check out our Export-Import Bank Fact Sheet.

1087-ExIm-Bank-Hearing-Graphic-Poster-062514---bottom

Posted in Export-Import Bank, Foreign Ownership, Leveling the Playing Field | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Public Eye on NAI

Time to Deny NAI
For months, many lawmakers, stakeholders, and leaders within the labor and aviation community have been keeping a close eye on whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will approve or reject Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) “flag of convenience” business model.  But in recent weeks, we’ve seen a new interested party that is now closely following the issue: the general public.

With more than 34,000 signatures from the general public, 150+ members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, and transportation leaders all urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to DenyNAI, it’s clear that the U.S. jobs message is winning.

Please take a look at the latest stories from the past month exposing the truth behind NAI’s job-killing scheme.

If you have not done so already, here’s your chance to fight for U.S. jobs.
Sign the petition and urge U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx to DenyNAI!

Posted in Leveling the Playing Field | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

ALPA to Congress: Export Import Bank Must Reform Widebody Aircraft Financing

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senate Vote to Deny NAI Coming This Week

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ALPA and Congress: To Fly to the United States, Foreign Airlines Must Obey U.S. Law and Policy

DENYNAI

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed by voice vote an amendment to a transportation funding bill—and did so in 3 minutes from the amendment submission to the vote.

Not surprisingly, the amendment didn’t do anything controversial. It simply stated that for the Department of Transportation to approve a foreign air carrier permit application, the permit cannot contravene United States law or Article 17 bis of the U.S.–E.U.–Iceland–Norway Air Transport Agreement. In short, the amendment, which ALPA aggressively supported, enforces the existing law without mentioning any specific airline or operation.

It’s not shocking that there was unanimity among both parties that voted to support the Westmoreland-DeFazio amendment that prohibits shopping for cheap labor and simply requires the Department of Transportation to follow the law and provisions agreed to in the U.S.-EU Transport Agreement. Read ALPA’s statement.

But pay attention to who opposed the amendment: Norwegian Air International (NAI) launched an aggressive lobbying campaign to defeat this straightforward amendment.

Which leaves one to ask Why? Because NAI knows that if DOT follows the law, then its application for a new foreign air carrier permit will be denied because it doesn’t meet the legal standard set forth in U.S. and international law.

The fact is, when Norwegian launched its service to the United States last May, ALPA did not object. It was only when Norwegian attempted to move its operation outside of Norway six months later to establish a flag-of-convenience airlinein Ireland to avoid Norwegian labor, tax and regulatory laws did we object, and that objection was only to the new business model, not to Norwegian’s existing service to the United States.

Norwegian’s attempt to confuse ALPA’s position has been a desperate effort to distract from the core issues and illustrates perfectly how Norwegian is willing to say anything in its attempt to divert attention from its convoluted scheme to use Singapore contract labor based in Thailand, which would not be allowed under Norwegian law.

NAI’s own statements make it clear that ALPA does not fear “low-cost” competition since we did not–and do not—oppose Norwegian’s initial service to the United States. But, make no mistake, ALPA absolutely opposes Norwegian’s attempt to violate U.S. and international laws with its new proposed business model, which is very different from the “low-cost” service the airline offers now.

NAI’s public relations tactics should not detract from the truth: The Department of Transportation should deny NAI’s application for a foreign air carrier permit because it runs counter to the U.S. public interest and the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement—and NAI’s vehement opposition to last night’s amendment proves it.

The United States must deny NAI. Norwegian can still fly to the United States and offer whatever “low-cost” product it wishes to consumers.  However, it must do so as its existing Norwegian company, abiding by U.S. and Norwegian law and the provisions agreed upon under the U.S.-EU Open Skies agreement. This is the only outcome that allows the marketplace to work for consumers on a truly level playing field.

ALPA will continue its efforts on the Hill to urge the U.S. Senate to support the U.S. House position and send a clear signal that Congress is committed to ensuring that U.S. airlines and their employees do business on a level playing field.

Join the fight—more than 30,000 have already signed the petition to #DenyNAI. Visit sos.alpa.org to participate.

Posted in Leveling the Playing Field | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment