Budget Proposal Would Harm U.S. Airlines’ Ability to Compete Globally

Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, issued the following statement underscoring the union’s staunch opposition to the administration’s proposed FY14 federal budget because it would compromise aviation security and harm U.S. airlines’ ability to compete globally.

“While we are gratified to see the administration’s support in its federal budget proposal for modernizing the national airspace through NextGen, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l is seriously concerned that the proposed budget threatens U.S. airlines’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.

“While the administration’s proposal should use U.S. taxpayers’ funds to help U.S. airlines and their employees compete on a level playing field with heavily state-backed foreign airlines, the proposed budget would allow the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to accept third-party reimbursements to begin or expand services at facilities outside the United States, including preclearance facilities.

“As a result, the administration could proceed with a misguided proposal to establish a preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Because no U.S. airline serves the airport, the administration’s flawed proposal would hand Etihad Airways, a foreign state-backed airline, a clear advantage over U.S. airlines in attracting passengers. This proposal must be immediately stopped, and the CBP’s U.S. taxpayer-funded resources must be directed to support U.S. airlines, U.S. workers, and the U.S. economy.

“Similarly, the administration’s proposal to raise the Aviation Passenger Security Fee from $2.50 to $5.00, with an annual increase of 50 cents each year from 2015 through 2019 to a total of $7.50, only adds to the U.S. airline industry’s already oppressive tax burden at a time when many foreign state-backed airlines do business in a tax-free environment. Likewise, the administration’s budget proposal for a $100 per flight fee magnifies the disadvantage U.S. airlines face in the global marketplace.

“This FY2014 budget proposal threatens to hinder U.S. airlines and their employees in their determined fight to compete against state-supported foreign airlines. ALPA strongly urges Congress to reject this budget proposal, and instead get behind U.S. airlines and their employees in their drive to compete and prevail in the global economy.”

See ALPA’s Call to Action to stop the creation of a new CBP preclearance site in Abu Dhabi.