ALPA Pilots on Capitol Hill: Congress Must Level Playing Field for U.S. Airlines

Among the high points of ALPA’s first-ever Legislative Summit, nearly 100 pilots representing 15 ALPA pilot groups met with more than 110 members of Congress to make clear the immediate need to advance U.S. laws and regulations that allow U.S. airlines to compete on a level playing field with heavily state-backed foreign airlines.

During the summit, held June 5–6, ALPA issued the newest version of its Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Airlines and Their Employees policy framework, which was designed by its members to advance the safety, security, and economic competitiveness of the U.S. airline industry and create stable careers for U.S. airline pilots.

Held steps from the U.S. Capitol, ALPA’s Legislative Summit featured one-on-one time with more than 60 members of Congress, senior Hill staff, and legislative representatives from other airline industry organizations, giving ALPA volunteers the opportunity to learn firsthand lawmakers’ and other stakeholders’ perspectives on a broad range of aviation issues. ALPA’s Government Affairs volunteers and staff also conducted how-to sessions and demonstrated best practices for Hill visits, in addition to distributing information on ALPA’s top legislative issues. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) were guest speakers.

Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president, joined by Government Affairs staff and volunteers, described for summit participants the union’s legislative goals and what it will take to achieve them. “I ask two things of each of you. We need you to be resolute in your determination to prevail in Washington, and we need you to bring 10 more of you to ALPA’s next Legislative Summit,” he said. Describing ALPA’s commitment to pursue a pro-pilot agenda on the Hill, Moak proclaimed, “Fight’s on!”

Equipped with ALPA’s new report, the union’s pilots fanned out across Capitol Hill to express in the strongest possible terms their call to Congress to level the playing field for U.S. airlines in three critical areas: enhancing the aviation business environment, defending U.S. airline industry jobs in the global marketplace, and strengthening international aviation safety regulations through the International Civil Aviation Organization so that U.S. airlines are not forced to compete at a disadvantage in the safety arena.

More to come in the July issue of Air Line Pilot.