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U.S. Airlines Need a Level Playing Field to Compete Against Foreign Airlines
By Shane Nolan

June 17, 2012 - In a white paper released titled “Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Airlines and Their Employees,” the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) outlines the clear solutions that the U.S. government must pursue to create a strong U.S. airline industry and fairly position U.S. airlines and their employees to compete and prevail in global air transportation.  

“In the global marketplace, competition exists not only between companies, but between governments. Foreign airlines, particularly in the Persian Gulf, operate under governments that make promoting strong and competitive carriers a national priority,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, in a speech before the Aero Club of Washington, at which the white paper was released.

While foreign countries invest heavily in airports and infrastructure, advance pro-aviation economic policies, and build state-of-the-art air transportation systems, the United States continues to promote many policies that actually hinder the U.S. airline industry and its employees’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.  

In the white paper, ALPA makes clear that many of the U.S. airlines’ foreign competitors are state-owned or heavily state-sponsored and operate from countries with low or nonexistent tax and regulatory burdens. Meanwhile, the U.S. airline industry is heavily taxed and highly regulated, and current policy often permits U.S. taxpayers’ money to be used to help foreign airlines gain an economic advantage.  

The white paper details ALPA’s policy action plan to level the playing field for U.S. airlines. The union calls for a major policy overhaul in three key areas:

• Enhancing the business environment,
• Defending U.S. aviation jobs in the international marketplace, and
• Enhancing international aviation safety regulations through the International Civil Aviation Organization. 

“I believe that now is the time for labor and airline executives to work together with others in industry and with governments in the United States and around the globe,” concluded Capt. Moak. “Working together is the only way we can level the playing field” (See White Paper release).


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