NAI Can’t Fly Above the Law

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The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, in collaboration with the Transportation Trades Department and the European Cockpit Association, jointly filed comments with the U.S. Department of Transportation today, again urging the DOT to deny Norwegian Air International’s request to fly to and from the United States on the basis that it violates the principles of  the U.S.-EU Air Transport Agreement.

In the filing, ALPA points to comments made by a European Commission official, who acknowledges for the first time that a violation of Article 17 bis of the agreement can constitute a sufficient reason to reject a request for a foreign air carrier permit application or an exemption—both items NAI hopes to obtain from the U.S. DOT.

“ALPA could not agree more strongly with the European Commission director’s acknowledgment for the first time that violation of the labor provision can serve as a sufficient reason to deny foreign air carrier applications or operation authorizations,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA president.

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ALPA Pilots Prove Once Again That the Price of Greatness is Responsibility

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Year after year, ALPA brings together pilots and stakeholders from all around the world to celebrate the notable contributions pilots have made to our industry. Since the first Air Safety Forum in 1953, the Air Line Pilots Association, International has celebrated the giants of its union. Commercial aviation continues to be the safest and most secure mode of transportation, and ALPA plays a key role due to the hundreds of safety, security, and pilot assistant representatives who currently serve the Air Safety Organization in both the United States and Canada.

The celebration peaks with one of the most important parts of our Air Safety Forum: the Awards Banquet. We proudly honor another year of great accomplishments; another year of ALPA Air Safety, Aviation Security, and Pilot Assistance award winners; and another year celebrating the giants who came before us and those who continue their work today. Learn more about those giants with this special video highlighting previous Air Safety Forum honorees:

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Only as Good as What We Know

The Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 tragedy in Ukraine continues to fuel our industry’s absolute resolve to do everything possible to prevent anything like it from ever happening again. The airspace restrictions that resulted also reveal our intelligence community’s opportunities to better communicate the vital information necessary to ensure safe and secure flight operations around the globe.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have an enormously dedicated and expert professional staff that works around the clock to ensure the safety of U.S. air transportation. It is also true that the U.S. government has a tremendous intelligence network and the capacity for powerful information analysis. But, with the communication and coordination process in its current form, is the U.S. airline industry­­—and are airline pilots—able to make the most of both assets?

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Celebrating Line Pilots Who Make a Difference

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Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, opened the 60th Air Safety Forum on August 6, highlighting ALPA line pilots who play—or have played in ALPA’s history—a critical role in aviation safety and security advancements and achievements.

“By attending this forum, you’re showing the same initiative, but I want to challenge you to take it further,” Moak said to the audience of more than 300 ALPA pilot representatives and other industry stakeholders. “As you’re attending the events this week, think about what you can take back to your airline to make things better. Think about what needs that you’ve seen that you can fix. Think about what skills you have that you can offer. And think about what improvements you believe you can help achieve.”

For example, scores of line pilots have stepped up to tackle much-needed reform for the carriage of lithium batteries, extending newly implemented pilot fatigue rules for all pilots, and the ongoing mission to deny Norwegian Air International its application for an air carrier permit from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Those issues, among the vast safety and security efforts made by ALPA pilot volunteers, take consistent effort, dogged persistence, and partnerships within the industry to develop even stronger unified messages.
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It’s a Pilot Pay Shortage

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There is no shortage of qualified airline pilots in the United States.

ALPA released a new fact sheet today, which we delivered to every member of Congress, underscoring the fact that hundreds of qualified pilots are currently furloughed in the United States and Canada while many others choose to work abroad.

So, we know qualified pilots are available, but the shortage of pilot pay, benefits and stable careers creates a hurdle for regional airlines to overcome in attracting and retaining them.

Boeing’s 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook, released earlier this week, projects that between 2014 and 2033, the world’s aviation system will require 533,000 new commercial airline pilots. It’s all the more reason the U.S. and Canadian airline industries’ need to resolve the pilot pay shortage.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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