ALPA Acts to Block U.S. Export-Import Bank’s Air India Financing Deal
Foreign Carrier Could Gain Economic Advantage at Expense of U.S. Airline Jobs
WASHINGTON -- November 30, 2011
The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), has been granted permission to
intervene in a lawsuit against the U.S. Export-Import Bank to block it from
providing millions in U.S. taxpayer dollars to guarantee financing for Air
India to purchase a large number of aircraft—a move that could seriously harm
the U.S. airline industry and risk U.S. airline jobs.
“At a time when every U.S. airline industry job counts, it is inexcusable that
the U.S. Export-Import Bank would use U.S. taxpayer dollars to guarantee
financing that could give a foreign airline a significant competitive
advantage and risk U.S. jobs,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president.
On November 22, ALPA filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by
Airlines 4 America (formerly known as the Air Transport Association) that
asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin the U.S.
Export-Import Bank from making financial guarantees for Air India to purchase
new aircraft until the Bank determines that the guarantees will not harm U.S.
airlines and their employees.
ALPA asserts that the Bank has violated the statutory requirement that it
carefully assess the impact of its financing practices on U.S. airline
workers. In particular, ALPA is contesting the Bank’s recently proposed
financing guarantees for a purchase of Boeing aircraft by Air India.
ALPA also asserts that the Bank’s loan-subsidy program harms U.S. airlines and
their workers by allowing foreign airlines such as Air India to acquire
aircraft for substantially less than U.S. airlines would have to pay. For
example, Airlines 4 America has estimated that, with Bank financing, Air India
would pay approximately $5 million a year less to finance a Boeing 777 than a
U.S. airline would pay without the financing guarantees. Both ALPA and
Airlines 4 America are alleging that, because of the Bank’s actions, U.S.
carriers are finding themselves at a competitive disadvantage on routes where
Bank-subsidized foreign carriers operate. U.S. airlines have even had to pull
down or reduce service on occasion.
The Court has set an expedited briefing schedule, with a hearing to be held on
the injunction request on December 21.
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more
than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the
ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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