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Aviation Unions Issue Joint Letter in Support of "Flags of Convenience Don't Fly Here Act"


Release Date: 8/20/2018

The Honorable John Thune
Chairman
Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Bill Nelson
Ranking Member
Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
United States
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson:

On behalf of more than 160,000 pilots and flight attendants who fly for U.S. air carriers, we want to convey our strong support for Section 530 of H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

Section 530 addresses flag-of-convenience schemes that enable companies to skirt tax, labor, and safety standards. This language requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a public interest analysis before awarding a foreign air carrier permit. Among the policy objectives that DOT is to seek to achieve when determining whether proposed foreign air transportation is in the public interest is the encouragement of “fair wages and working conditions.” 49 U.S.C. § 40101(a)(5). Another objective is “strengthening the competitive position of [U.S.] air carriers to at least ensure equality with foreign air carriers.” 49 U.S.C. §§ 40101(a)(15) and (e)(1).

We’ve seen before how flag-of-convenience schemes can decimate a U.S. industry. In 1955, U.S. maritime vessels carried 25 percent of the world’s tonnage. Today, following the rise of the flag-of-convenience model in international shipping, the U.S. maritime industry accounts for just 2 percent of world tonnage. U.S. seafaring jobs on those ships have plummeted by 87 percent as a result. Section 530 is necessary to preserve our U.S. airline industry, which directly employs nearly 700,000 people across the United States.

On behalf of these workers and their families, we urge you to include Section 530 in the final FAA reauthorization bill.

Sincerely,

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)
Captain Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
Captain Dan Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association (APA)
Lori Bassani, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA)
Captain Lee Collins, president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA)
Captain Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association (IPA)
First Officer Pedro Leroux, president of the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) Captain Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA)
Captain Josh LeBlanc, president of Teamsters Local 357
Captain Daniel Wells, president of Teamsters Local 1224

Pilot Unions Unite to Fight Attempts to Eliminate Pilots from the Flight Deck


Release Date: 8/1/2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, at the 64th Air Safety Forum, hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), the unions representing the pilots of nearly 50 commercial airlines joined together to voice their opposition to a dangerous set of provisions that were added to the FAA reauthorization bill passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives. Sections 744 and 703(a)(xviii) would authorize a new FAA research and development program in support of single-pilot all-cargo operations utilizing remote-piloting or computer-piloting technology, and ALPA, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA), the Independent Pilots Association (IPA), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP), the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), want Congress to know how reckless passage of a bill with this provision would be.

Pilots are trained to operate an aircraft while interacting with air traffic control; communicating with Dispatch; checking current weather and forecasts; visually scanning for other aircraft; and monitoring engines, fuel, and other systems. In nonroutine situations, the workload on the flight deck can increase significantly in a short time period. Addressing these situations requires at least two well-trained, fully qualified pilots to communicate in real time without delay or the potential for a lost connection.

"ALPA adamantly opposes FAA Reauthorization Section 744 and will continue to use every resource we have to ensure that this anti-safety provision is not enacted,” said Captain Tim Canoll, ALPA president. “The inclusion of this unacceptable provision serves as an existential threat to aviation safety and security, the general public, and the airline piloting profession."

"Cargo and passenger carriers operate the same high-performance jet aircraft, share the same congested airspace, and fly over the same densely populated areas. There’s no logical reason to apply different standards to each,” said Capt. Dan Carey, president of APA. “Given the threat posed by computer hacking and the accident rates for autonomous vehicles and military and civilian drones, it’s astonishing that policymakers would even consider this notion. APA is adamantly opposed to the language in Sections 744 and 703(a)(xviii), and we urge Congress to remove it to help preserve public safety."

"This technology is neither mature, nor proven to a level of confidence capable of assuring a higher level of safety than that which can be attained by two highly qualified, highly trained professional airline pilots on the flight deck,” said Lee Collins, CAPA president. “Having the ability to do so in a lab under controlled circumstances does not mean we should do it in our national airspace system now or at any time in the future."

"The Teamsters Union strongly opposes FAA Reauthorization Section 744, a dangerous provision that would put aviation safety in jeopardy. Aviation is the safest form of transportation thanks to the regulations and procedures that have been developed over the years, of which the two-person cockpit is a critical component. This provision poses serious risks to the lives of aviation professionals and the public, and we are committed to ensuring that it is not enacted," said Capt. David Bourne, Teamsters Airline Division director.

"The safety of commercial aviation relies heavily on the experience and coordination of a crew to operate complex aircraft worldwide,” IPA President Robert Travis. “Anything less than two pilots physically in the cockpit will significantly increase risk, especially during emergency operations, when timely actions are coordinated and implemented by each crewmember based on real-time information. Our national aviation system and the general public below the flight paths of aircraft operating within that system cannot afford this unwarranted and unnecessary step backwards in safety."

"The two-person flight deck model exists not for the sake of redundancy, but to promote safety through shared decision making and communication,” NJASAP President Pedro Leroux said. “Any effort to replace a pilot on the flight deck with unproven automation technology vulnerable to hacking and connectivity issues is an imprudent move that undermines the safety of the flying public, places an excessive burden on professional flight deck crewmembers, and jeopardizes the integrity of the national airspace system."

"Air travel has never been safer. In fact, 2017 was the safest year in aviation history. Yet, the U.S. Congress is attempting to pass legislation that would allow operators to eliminate one of the most vital safety features of commercial aviation—two pilots in the cockpit. There is no doubt that two well-qualified and well-trained pilots operate as a team in the cockpit and are important contributors to our industry’s ever-improving safety record. We demand that Congress continue to protect the flying public and the crews that operate commercial aircraft by keeping two pilots in the cockpit. No amount of cost savings is worth putting people at risk," said Capt. Jon Weaks, SWAPA president.

Pilot Unions Rally Behind American Aviation Workers On Flag Day


Release Date: 6/14/2018

Seven Unions and One Trade Association, Representing Nearly 100,000 Pilots Combined, Urge the Senate to Take Action to Prevent Flag-of-Convenience Schemes in the U.S.

Today, on Flag Day, the unions representing the pilots of almost 50 commercial airlines joined together to express their support for H.R. 2150 — federal legislation that would prevent foreign threats to American aviation jobs.

The language of H.R. 2150, the Flags of Convenience Don’t Fly Here Act, was included in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, which overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House of Representatives last April by a vote of 393-13. The U.S. Senate has a chance to include this legislation in its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act. A Senate vote is expected this summer.

"Flag-of-convenience business models base different operations around the globe in an attempt to avoid taxes, labor laws, and safety regulations," said Captain Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association. "This kind of business, if approved, would seriously disadvantage U.S. airlines and American workers."

"On Flag Day, pilots are standing up for the American flag and protecting the aviation jobs that are under threat unless the U.S. Senate takes urgent action," said Captain Dan Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association. "Flag-of-convenience schemes by foreign carriers threaten to decimate our nation’s aviation industry just as they once did to U.S. maritime shipping."

"The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Federal Aviation Reauthorization bill with H.R. 2150 intact, indicating that there is broad bipartisan support for legislation that protects American workers," said Captain Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association. "We thank members of Congress who have stood up for hard-working American pilots, and urge the Senate to join the House and pass a FAA reauthorization bill that includes H.R. 2150."

"If flag-of-convenience schemes are allowed to expand domestically, it will result in fewer jobs at lower wages, less experienced pilots, and lower safety standards," said First Officer Pedro Leroux, president of the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots. "It is vital that members of the Senate stand up for hard-working American pilots and flight crew members."

"The U.S. airline industry supports over 10 million jobs across the United States, and directly employs nearly 700,000 Americans," said Captain Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association. "H.R. 2150 would prevent a race to the bottom in our industry and protect both U.S. aviation jobs and passenger safety."

H.R. 2150 would prohibit the Department of Transportation from issuing a permit to a foreign airline unless DOT determines that it is not establishing itself in a particular country just to avoid regulations — a so-called "flag of convenience" scheme that allows companies to skirt international labor standards, outsource cheap labor from low-wage countries, and avoid safety regulations. The bill would also require DOT to ensure that any new foreign air carrier permits issued to European airlines are consistent with the fair labor standards and fair competition requirements of the U.S.-EU-Norway-Iceland Air Transport Agreement.

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About the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA):
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 60,000 pilots at 34 airlines in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit alpa.org.

About the Allied Pilot Association (APA):
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, APA serves as the certified collective bargaining agent for the 15,000 professional pilots who fly for American Airlines. APA was founded in 1963 and is the largest independent pilots’ union in the world. APA provides a broad range of representation services for its members and devotes more than 20 percent of its dues income to support aviation safety. For more information, visit AlliedPilots.org.

About the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA):
The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations is a trade association representing more than 30,000 professional passenger and all-cargo pilots at carriers including American Airlines, UPS Airlines, ABX Air, Horizon Airlines, Southern Air, Silver Airways, Allegiant Air, Miami Air, Cape Air, Omni Air, Atlas Air, and Republic Airline. For more information, visit capapilots.org.

About the Independent Pilots Association (IPA):
The IPA is the collective bargaining unit representing the more than 2,500 professional pilots who fly for United Parcel Service, the world’s largest transportation company. The IPA is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, visit ipapilot.org.

About the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP):
Founded in 2008 as an independent labor advocate, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP) represents the professional interests of the 2,700-plus pilots who fly in the service of NetJets Aviation, Inc. For more information, visit njasap.com.

About the Southwest Airline Pilots Association (SWAPA):
Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization and the sole bargaining unit for the more than 9,400 pilots of Southwest Airlines. SWAPA, now in its 40th year, works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights, and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information, visit swapa.org.

About Teamsters Local 1224:
The Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, represents pilots and flight crewmembers from 10 airlines operating across the country. For more information, visit apa1224.org.

About Teamsters Local 357:
Teamsters Local 357 provides representation, assistance, and security for more than 2,100 flightdeck crewmembers employed by Republic Airline. For more information, visit local357.org.

Cargo Airlines Respond to FAA Reauthorization Section 744 Language


Release Date: 4/18/2018

MEMPHIS, Tenn.—The cargo pilots of Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, the Independent Pilots Association, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division issued the following statement today concerning the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.

"While we applaud Members of Congress on their efforts regarding the release of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, we are deeply concerned with the language contained in Section 744—a provision that would introduce significant aviation safety and security risks for cargo aircraft. Specifically, this provision establishes a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.

"The professional cargo pilots of our collective airlines strongly oppose Section 744 and implore Congress to reject this provision without delay. By endorsing language that promotes single-operator commercial cargo aircraft, Congress will undermine years of safety and security measures currently in place and put lives at risk.

"The desire by some in the industry to pursue single-piloted or autonomously piloted cargo aircraft seriously places the American public and the flight crews of these aircraft in a tenuous position. For many years, aviation has been the safest form of transportation in the United States. This is by no means an accident; it is the result of a strong regulatory framework built over time, paired with an ongoing airline system safety culture that is one of the most ambitious in our nation’s history. Attempts to roll back safety regulations in such a way are counterproductive, and unacceptable to the common good. With the increasing frequency and severity of reports regarding computer hacking, accidents in current military and civilian drone operations, and mounting reports of autonomous vehicle accidents, we think any serious consideration of this technology is premature at best."

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l – media@alpa.org
Independent Pilots Association – brian.gaudet@gmail.com
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division - kdeniz@teamster.org

Independent Pilots Association Advisory: Southwest 1380 is NOT the first U.S. airline fatality since 2009; UPS 1354 in 2013


Release Date: 4/18/2018 1:54:39 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 18, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The death resulting from an engine failure on Southwest Flt. 1380 yesterday is, sadly, not the first casualty at a U.S. airline since Colgan Air Flt. 3407 in 2009. Tragically, on August 14, 2013, United Parcel Service Flt. 1354 crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttleworth International Airport, resulting in the deaths of two crewmembers, Captain Cerea Beal and First Officer Shanda Fanning.

UPS Airlines is the world's largest airline by destinations served at 720.  The next closest is FedEx with 375 destinations served.  Data provided by http://www.airportspotting.com/worlds-largest-airlines dated December 2017.