ALPA Responds to Seasonal Employment of Foreign Pilots in Canada
ALPA issued the following response to the Canadian Transportation Agency
(CTA) release this week of two decisions. The CTA confirmed that Sunwing
Airlines Inc. operates within Canada’s foreign ownership and control limits. The
agency also approved Sunwing’s application for wet lease of foreign aircraft and
pilots through spring 2013.
“The Canadian Transportation Agency’s recent
decisions confirming that Sunwing Airlines continues to be controlled by
Canadians and approving the airline’s application to use foreign flight crews
and aircraft on a seasonal basis underscore a growing concern in the Canadian
“While we respect the CTA’s decision on ownership,
the fact of the matter is that for this winter season, more than half of
Sunwing’s pilots will be foreign, and two-thirds of their aircraft will be
leased from abroad.
“As for the CTA’s decision
allowing Sunwing to wet-lease foreign aircraft, simply put, with the absence of
a Canadian wet-lease policy, the agency had little choice but to grant the
application. ALPA has long advocated for restricting this practice, as it allows
foreign pilots to perform flying that can and should be done by Canadian pilots.
“At a time when a number of qualified Canadian
pilots have been furloughed from their airlines, ALPA believes that the granting
of this application undermines the viability of Canadian airlines and deprives
Canadian pilots of work opportunities.
“ALPA does, however, applaud the CTA for
recognizing this problem by taking the initiative to review the way the agency
approaches wet-lease applications. Further, ALPA commends the agency’s
initiative to consult with industry stakeholders such as ALPA regarding
wet-lease approval requirements and the considerations that the agency should
undertake in its assessment of necessity under the regulations. We look forward
to working cooperatively with the agency and other interested parties to
establish appropriate guidelines for a Canadian wet-lease policy that help level
the playing field for all Canadian airlines and bring our furloughed members
back to work.”