Today, Capt. Lee Moak testified before the U.S. House Aviation Subcommittee on the serious economic threat to U.S. airlines posed by state-supported foreign airlines and foreign airlines’ business plans that conflict with U.S. policy.
The hearing, title “Air Service to Small and Rural Communities,” included discussion of the Essential Air Service (EAS) program which supports airline service in small and rural communities. Capt. Moak discussed how economic threats to U.S. airlines will threaten small and rural air service in this country, stating “the most serious challenge faced by this sector is one that threatens the entire U.S. airline industry.”
Additionally, Capt. Moak also made clear ALPA’s position that there is no current pilot shortage of qualified pilots in this country. “There is, however, a pay and benefits shortage for qualified pilots,” he said. Average beginning pay at a U.S. regional airline is about $24,000. ALPA submitted testimony calling for:
- Congress to examine with the Department of Transportation the government’s relationship with regional airlines that accept millions of dollars under its EAS program while offering wages so low they cannot fill their pilot seats.
- Congress to restore loan guarantees for college and university flight students and work with the airlines to offset pilots’ flight training expenses.
- The U.S. government to ensure the U.S. airline industry does business on a level playing field that allows U.S. airlines to compete and prevail internationally by, among other actions, limiting regulatory bureaucracy and reducing airline taxes.
For more information about the so-called pilot shortage, please visit www.alpa.org/pilotshortage.