Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization: Key Reforms Vital to Protect Jobs

As Congress takes up the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, ALPA has urged lawmakers to implement key reforms to protect U.S. airline workers’ jobs in connection with the Bank’s financing of aircraft for foreign airlines.

“Airline pilots and thousands of other airline industry employees across the country are committed to ensuring a thriving U.S. airline industry because they know it is vital to promoting our country’s economic viability. It puts Americans to work, it stimulates manufacturing, and it promotes commerce,” said ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak. “In order to thrive, however, U.S. airlines must be able to compete in the global marketplace. The Ex-Im Bank’s subsidizing of foreign airlines with U.S. taxpayer money puts U.S. airlines at a disadvantage and threatens thousands of U.S. airline employees’ jobs.”

Over the past five years, the Bank has provided financing for dozens of wide-body aircraft to foreign airlines at rates that are not available to U.S. airlines. Foreign airlines are using many of these Bank-subsidized aircraft on routes that are, have been, or could be served by U.S. airlines. As a result, U.S. carriers have had to withdraw from or forgo entering routes that might otherwise be economically viable, costing airline workers’ jobs and threatening the ability of U.S. airlines to compete on international routes.

ALPA supports Ex-Im Bank reauthorization with two crucial amendments to level the playing field. First, Congress should amend the reauthorization to ensure that the Bank gives the statutorily required full consideration to any serious adverse effects the possible financing might have on U.S. industry and employment. The Bank has failed to provide these congressionally mandated economic harm assessments, even though aircraft financing represents more than 40 percent of all Bank financing.

Second, Congress should amend the Bank‘s reauthorization to direct the Administration to enter into negotiations with the four European countries with export credit agencies that support widebody aircraft sales, with the goal of eliminating all export credit agency financing of such aircraft, both here and abroad.

“This is not about one airline or one industry versus another. This is about bolstering the airline industry in our country and revitalizing our economy,” Moak said. “At a time when we are experiencing industry consolidation, several carriers in bankruptcy, and pilots and other airline workers being furloughed, the potential impact of the Ex-Im Bank’s current practices on U.S. airline workers’ livelihoods, families, and careers could be devastating. It is imperative that all of us, including Congress, take action to protect American jobs.”