In a letter to its members, the Airline Pilots Association International (ALPA), the largest airline pilots union in North America, sounded a warning bell as Airlines in the European Union (EU) announce their intentions to attempt, once again, to change laws in the United States related to foreign ownership of airlines in the U.S.
“Last month, the European Union (EU) finally went public with what we have known it’s been plotting to do for some time: The EU is going to again attack our laws on foreign ownership and control. The goal: to enable foreign investors from around the world—corporations, airlines, and even countries—to buy and take control of our airlines,” ALPA wrote in a letter to its members. “Simple, stark, and devastating, this change spells catastrophe for our carriers and our careers—just when some of our airlines are finally recovering from the misery of the last decade.”
According to ALPA, if the foreign investors, which would include state-owned airlines in the EU, China, and the Middle East, are able to get their way, they would be able to take over international flights by U.S. airlines by simply reversing the destination and origination points of a flight. For example, what was once Chicago-to-Singapore-to-Chicago, would simply be changed to a Singapore-to-Chicago-to Singapore flight. The flight would carry the same passengers, but would be done so by foreign based air crews operating under a totally different set of safety and security rules.
The move by the foreign airlines is similar to what has already happened in the United States to the maritime industry. In essence, American air carriers would become feeders for the foreign owners’ international flying and could next move on to take over domestic flying in the United States, spelling doom for the airlines here.
An example of what could happen in the U.S. can be seen in what has just recently happened in Australia. With a recently announced global partnership between Australia’s flagship airline Qantas, and Emirates based in Dubai in the Middle East, “it is clear that Emirates will perform the overwhelming majority of international flying while Qantas will remain largely a domestic feeder carrier.”
In their statement, ALPA went on to say, “Although the population of Australia is almost three times as large as that of the Emirates, of the 98 weekly Australia-Dubai flights, Qantas will operate only 14 while Emirates will operate 74. Emirates will also be taking over many of Qantas’ flights into Europe and Asia. Of the 7 daily flights into Heathrow, Emirates gets 5 and Qantas 2.”
In his letter, ALPA’s president, Capt. Lee Moak, called on the union’s pilots to stand together a one unified group to demand that our leaders in Washington stand up against the EU and vote against any changes to the laws that would allow foreign ownership of airlines in the United States.
The potential impact on the U.S. economy, as well as the safety of the flying public, are all at risk, making it important to everyone to contact their representatives in congress and also tell them to vote against any such legislation.