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News from ALPA International

December 13, 2012

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In This Issue:

ALPA Urges Congress to Protect Individual Retirement Savings

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, sent letters today to the House and Senate supporting a resolution to protect individual retirement savings in the midst of the fiscal cliff debate. “Fiscal cliff” is shorthand for the economic effects of the combination of tax hikes and budget cuts that will take place on Jan. 1, 2013, if Congress does not agree on an alternative. In a search for revenue to avoid “going over the cliff,” lawmakers are considering lowering the amount workers can contribute to defined contribution retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. ALPA strongly opposes these proposals.

In the past decade, many airlines, having received bankruptcy protection, terminated defined benefit plans, which cost pilots more than $5.5 billion in earned benefits and countless amounts in future expected benefit accruals. Pilots at these same airlines took major pay cuts, were stripped of retiree medical provisions in their working agreements, and had their careers significantly thrown off course. For nearly all ALPA pilots today, a 401(k) type of defined contribution plan is their primary employer-sponsored retirement plan, and pilots are required by law to retire at age 65, regardless of their financial situation.

In addition, applying more restrictive limitations to one’s ability to provide a meaningful income replacement at retirement does not produce long-term savings for the federal government; it is just a short-term budget gimmick that will have long-term negative consequences for retirees. That’s because while retirement plan contributions are tax-deferred at the outset, everyone must pay taxes on their retirement savings when they are paid out in retirement.

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Moak Stresses Dangers of Fiscal Cliff, Importance of ALPA-PAC

In a December 12 communiqué, ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak outlined the potential effects of the fiscal cliff on pilot compensation and the importance of supporting ALPA-PAC. The United States faces dramatic tax increases and spending cuts if no agreement on a federal financial plan is reached by the end of this year, as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“The safety of your career and your paycheck is being threatened today in Washington, D.C.,” said Moak, adding, “We are focused on solving our nation’s fiscal crises in a way that is healthy for our national economy, is productive for the future of our industry, and does not harm our careers. However, ALPA cannot be successful without your aid. I am asking you now to support our efforts on your behalf by joining ALPA-PAC today with a contribution of $5 per month or more.”

Read Moak’s letter.


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CAL, XJT Pilots Support Pilots for Kids

Continental and ExpressJet pilots continued an 18-year holiday tradition with Pilots for Kids, giving their time, hearts, and money to benefit hospitalized children and their families.

“Pilots for Kids makes such a difference for the children, the families, and our pilots,” says Capt. Jay Pierce, CAL MEC chairman. “It wouldn’t be the holiday season without Pilots for Kids. There are few programs like it where a few minutes of your time or a small donation can have such a profound effect on everyone who participates.”

Adds Capt. Chris Grable, XJT MEC chairman, “We wouldn’t miss participating in the Pilots for Kids program during the holidays. The stories of these children and their families, as well as their courage and perseverance, are inspiring to us all. It is very rewarding to be able to spend time with them.”

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Join ALPA Pilots, Families in Cleveland
CommutAir, Continental, and ExpressJet pilots will gather in the Cleveland area this weekend, inviting other ALPA members to join them, for the 4th Annual Joint LEC Meeting. This family-friendly event will feature great food, fun activities, and opportunities for ALPA pilots to socialize. It will kick off at noon on Saturday, December 15, at the Winking Lizard Tavern in Lakewood, Ohio.

Following an update on issues affecting Cleveland-based pilots, bowling and other games will begin. The Cleveland local councils of CAL 172, CMT 152, and XJT 176 will also meet separately to conduct council-specific business.

This event has grown in popularity since its inception in 2009. At that time, pilot leaders recognized that they were facing many of the same issues and wanted a forum where they could collaborate on solutions and engage their members collectively. Nearly 100 people attended the 2011 event, and more are expected to participate this year.

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Get the Scoop! Read “ALPA Daily”
The aviation industry is changing faster than ever before. The new “ALPA Daily” feature at will keep you informed of the latest industry developments and analysis from around the globe. Check it out each day to stay up-to-date on the news that affects pilots and the piloting profession.

ALPA members can sign up to receive ALPA Daily in their e-mail:

Visit this link.
• Log in with your ALPA member number and password.
• Select “E-mail Distribution Lists.”
• Check the box for “ALPA Daily.”
• Submit your request.

According to the Washington Post, more than 1 in 10 of the air traffic controllers who together direct 70,000 flights each day could be laid off, leading to flight delays and higher ticket prices, unless Congress resolves the current fiscal crisis. Read more.

Reuters reports that Brazilian jet maker Embraer SA aims to rebuild its depleted order backlog next year with two major new offerings—a military cargo plane and a re-engined family of regional jets. Read more.

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Stay Connected
Stay connected with your union, your profession, and your industry by reading Air Line Pilot and watching monthly episodes of The FlightDeck.

Read about Emirates Airline’s growing hold on air cargo on page 28 of the December issue of Air Line Pilot magazine.

On the 20th installment of The FlightDeck, learn about how the United and Continental pilots reached a tentative agreement.

Remember that both Air Line Pilot and The FlightDeck can also be accessed from the members-only portion of the ALPA website at

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’Tis the Season
When making charitable donations this holiday season, please remember your fellow pilots in need and make a contribution to the ALPA Emergency Relief Fund. As the end of the year is just around the corner, don’t forget that donations to AERF are tax-deductible in the United States.

Because AERF provides for the immediate needs of ALPA pilots and their families who fall victim to widespread disasters, your donations make a tremendous difference in helping these fellow members begin to put their lives in order.

To make a donation, please visit Remember that contributions are tax-deductible in the United States. Watch a brief video about the importance of AERF and how it helped an ALPA family in need.

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On Dec. 17, 1903, Orville Wright made the first sustained, controlled, powered flight from Kill Devil Hills, N.C. This historic trip lasted 12 seconds and covered approximately 120 feet.

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Feedback & E-mail Address Changes
Questions or comments on this FastRead? Give us your feedback at

If you have moved or changed your ISP or e-mail address, please update your ALPA records. If you don’t, you will no longer receive the ALPA FastRead and other e-mail bulletins and notices, and once your postal forwarding order expires, you’ll no longer receive the magazine and other ALPA mail. You can do it yourself by going to and logging in. Go to “My ALPA” in the menu at the top of the page, and from there, you’ll be instructed how to make the necessary changes.

If you don’t have access to the members-only section of, you can e-mail your requests by sending them to Be sure to include your member number or enough other information so that we can identify you in the membership database, and tell us what information needs to be updated.

Please note that it is not sufficient just to notify your LEC or MEC of these changes—you should register them with the ALPA Membership Department in Herndon.

Can’t remember your member number or how to log in? Need information about your ALPA insurance programs? These and other questions about ALPA services can be answered by contacting

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Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l
1625 Massachusetts Avenue NW | Washington, DC 20036 | 703-689-2270