ALPA, House Members, and Aviation Stakeholders Meet to Fight for U.S. Airlines & Jobs

The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), Airlines for America (A4A), and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA took the fight to Philadelphia to underscore a threat to our airline industry: a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi.

ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak and ALPA pilots joined Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) to support H.R. 3488, which would require the U.S. government to take a serious look at the potential effects a new CBP preclearance facility would have on the U.S. airline industry and CBP staffing before it could establish the facility. See video of the event.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Meehan, is currently cosponsored by more than 120 members of the U.S. House, and ALPA’s strong presence at the PHL press event is another crucial step in voicing the collective concern to the U.S. government: Enough is enough. U.S. resources and taxpayer dollars should be used to support U.S. industries and U.S. jobs.

“A preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi will give a foreign, state-owned airline a competitive edge over U.S. airlines as customers traveling to America from the Middle East and Asia route themselves through Abu Dhabi to avoid the lines at customs in the United States,” said Congressman Meehan. “This policy steers travelers away from U.S. carriers toward a foreign-owned airline, and we’re using American tax dollars to do it. A preclearance facility in Abu Dhabi will threaten American jobs and is little more than a taxpayer-funded handout to a foreign airline owned by the United Arab Emirates,” Meehan said.

“This is another example of the executive branch making unilateral decisions without considering how their actions affect jobs and the American families those jobs support,” Rep. Gerlach said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Meehan to stop this preclearance facility and protect American jobs.”

“A customs preclearance site at Abu Dhabi not only hands a state-owned Middle Eastern airline a U.S. taxpayer-financed powerful economic advantage in competing against U.S. airlines in the global marketplace, it also drains money that would be better used to improve customs facilities at major U.S. airports,” said Moak. “Why are American taxpayer dollars being spent on a preclearance facility at a foreign airport to which no U.S. air carriers fly?”

“The misguided Abu Dhabi deal is a prime example of our government providing foreign carriers with a competitive advantage over U.S. airlines in the marketplace,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We applaud Rep. Meehan for his leadership to ensure our government is not tilting the competitive playing field against U.S. airlines and their passengers in favor of our foreign competitors.”

“The Abu Dhabi preclearance facility would be the start of a slippery slope, creating a global system where only wealthy foreign airlines would be able to participate,” said Veda Shook, international president, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “It would benefit few U.S. citizens and put U.S. airlines at an extreme competitive disadvantage. Preclearance should not be a vehicle to put U.S. air carriers and U.S. airline jobs at risk by exclusively advantaging a foreign competitor.”

Click here for more on the CBP press event at PHL.