Congress Must Act to Ensure U.S. Ex–Im Bank Fosters U.S. Economy, Jobs

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, yesterday called on the U.S. Senate to take swift action to ensure that the Export–Import Bank of the United States fulfills its legal responsibility to protect U.S. jobs when it finances foreign airlines’ aircraft.

“Aircraft financing already represents more than 40 percent of all financing granted by the Export–Import Bank of the United States,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president. “Ex–Im Bank financing for wide-body aircraft is expected to grow rapidly in the near future, and the threat posed to the U.S. airline industry and its workers by the Bank’s using U.S. taxpayers’ money to support our nation’s competitors is very real.”

In a letter sent to U.S. senators today, ALPA asked legislators to direct the Obama administration to negotiate with the five European countries whose export credit agencies support Airbus aircraft sales with the goal of eliminating export credit agency financing of wide-body aircraft. This would eliminate credit agency financing of both Airbus and Boeing wide-body aircraft and allow all airline purchasers to compete for financing on a level playing field.

In addition, ALPA called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. Export–Import Bank fulfills its congressionally mandated duty to analyze any potential financing to ensure that granting such financing would be a net positive for U.S. industry and employees. The reauthorization for the Ex–Im Bank is slated to come before Congress in the coming weeks, and ALPA urges legislators to include the strongest possible language in the bill to require the bank to fulfill its responsibility to conduct an economic impact assessment and make certain that its financing will not harm U.S. industry.

Over the past five years, the Ex–Im Bank has provided financing to foreign airlines for dozens of wide-body aircraft that is not available to U.S. airlines. Many of these Bank-subsidized aircraft are used on routes that have been served, are currently served, or could be served by U.S. airlines to increase the U.S. airline industry’s contribution to the national economy and support jobs for U.S. airline industry employees.

“Congress must take a stand for the U.S. airline industry and its workers,” said Capt. Moak. “The U.S. airline industry and its tens of thousands of employees need Congress to include language in the Ex–Im Bank reauthorization to ensure the credit agency uses U.S. taxpayers’ money to help our nation’s economy, better position the U.S. airline industry to compete in the global marketplace, and create and maintain jobs for U.S. airline industry workers.”