Take U.S. Airline Employees’ Drive to Compete Straight to the (Ex-Im) Bank

ExIm bank Moak
ALPA’s newest fact sheet on the U.S. Export-Import Bank reveals the latest evidence of the serious threat that the credit agency’s financing practices pose to U.S. airline pilots’ jobs.

This compelling new infographic comes on the heels of a letter ALPA recently sent to members of both the U.S. House and Senate asking them to put an end to the Boeing Company’s attempts to block much-needed policy reform in the Ex-Im Bank’s upcoming reauthorization. Across party lines, lawmakers clearly support a reformed Ex-Im Bank that assists all U.S. businesses in competing internationally.

Our union backs the Ex-Im Bank’s stated mission and we also support its reauthorization — with reasonable, narrow, and targeted reforms to eliminate the financing of widebody aircraft to credit-worthy foreign airlines and those that are state-owned or state-supported. This practical course correction in the Ex-Im Bank’s financing practices will mean decisive action toward ALPA’s goal of safeguarding U.S. airline industry jobs and leveling the playing field, but also importantly doesn’t put at risk a single Boeing manufacturing job.

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The U.S. Export-Import Bank: It’s All About the Jobs

Moak ExIm

Members of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee invited ALPA to testify in an important hearing today, titled “Examining Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank: Corporate Necessity or Corporate Welfare?” ALPA called on Congress to seize the upcoming U.S. Export-Import Bank reauthorization as a key opportunity to make certain that the bank’s widebody financing decisions do not harm U.S. airlines or threaten U.S. airline industry jobs.

“If we are going to grow our economy, it must be based on fair competition. Fair competition is good and, on a level playing field, U.S. airlines can compete with anyone,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, in his testimony. “However, we compete in a global economic environment. It is one matter to compete with foreign airlines that are subsidized by their government; it is another matter entirely to compete with foreign airlines that are subsidized by our government. This is where the Export-Import Bank comes in.” Read more.

ALPA stressed that Congress must level the playing field and give U.S. workers a fair chance to compete with foreign competitors. ALPA also made it perfectly clear that the Association does not oppose the bank’s historic mission. We are pro-U.S. manufacturing and want the bank to continue to finance export deals that make sense for U.S. workers.

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NAI Is Back to Bullying

NAI is at it again. Demonstrating one more time that the company’s management is willing to do anything to obtain the foreign air carrier permit that has been deemed unlawful.

If you recall, in late April, Norwegian Air International (NAI) senior management engaged in a dialogue reeking of coercion—more than alluding to stalling negotiations with Boeing for current B-787 orders unless the permit was approved, threatening U.S. manufacturing jobs. It was just a bluff, we called them on it, and the next week, NAI ordered more Boeing airplanes. This week, in a predictable move, NAI allies threatened legal action should the U.S. Department of Transportation justly deny NAI’s permit. What’s coming next week? Will their EU allies threaten the U.S. with economic sanctions?

In a media interview this week, Siim Kallas, a vice president of the European Commission in charge of transportation, is quoted as saying, “I would hope that in the end, openness will win and that we won’t have to get the lawyers involved.”

Aren’t the lawyers already involved? Isn’t the public already involved? Isn’t the U.S. House of Representativesinvolved? This is a very serious, contested issue—who isn’t involved?

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

SOS ALPALast 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.

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FAA Employees Say “NO” to NAI

PASS National

On behalf of the 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees represented by the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), I urge the denial of Norwegian Air International’s (NAI) application for a foreign air carrier permit. The convoluted scheme to register the airline in one country, contract pilots from another, and operate out of yet another is, quite simply, a recipe for disaster. NAI’s plan will no doubt create regulatory headaches as this country attempts to monitor the use of such an airline in this country. More importantly, the concept robs this country of its ability to participate in fair competition.

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NATCA: You Can Help Save Our Skies!


We at the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) are proud to stand with you in your campaign to deny Norwegian Air International’s (NAI’s) foreign air carrier permit application. Like ALPA, NATCA supports healthy competition in the U.S. aviation industry. But when companies like NAI try to undercut that competition by evading labor laws and collective bargaining requirements, they should not have the privilege of participating in the U.S. market.

NAI calls itself Norwegian, registers its airplanes in Ireland but does not fly there, hires its pilots in Singapore, and bases its flight crews in Thailand. NAI is doing this explicitly to avoid Norway’s employment laws and is in direct violation of the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement. Specifically, it is in violation of Article 17 bis, which prohibits the establishment of “flags of convenience” to evade labor protections and thereby derive a competitive advantage that is not in the public interest.

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ALPA Welcomes Fair Competition in the Marketplace

ALPA’s defense of fair competition in the global marketplace came through loud and clear in our union’s recent DOT filing stating no opposition to French airline Dreamjet’s request for the authority to fly to and from the United States.

In contrast, Norwegian Air International (NAI), a creative concoction to avoid Norway’s employment laws, undermines fair competition. ALPA’s steady opposition to NAI’s application is growing in volume every day as are the number of voices echoing ALPA’s call for Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to reject it.

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