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Allied Pilots Association Applauds Progress on Fair and Open Skies Act

FORT WORTH, Texas (Sept. 17, 2019) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, welcomed the news that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be “marking up” H.R. 3632, the Fair and Open Skies Act, this week.

“APA strongly supports this important, pro-safety legislation, and we are pleased to hear that the committee plans to send the bill to the House floor for a vote,” said APA President Capt. Eric Ferguson. “We want to acknowledge Chairman Peter DeFazio’s steadfast leadership in moving this legislation forward, and we encourage Congress to move swiftly to adopt it.”

The bill would prohibit the Department of Transportation from issuing a permit to a foreign airline unless DOT determines that the airline is not a “flag of convenience carrier.” The bill defines that phrase as “a foreign air carrier that is established in a country other than the home country of its majority owner or owners in order to avoid regulations of the home country.” Flag-of-convenience schemes are typically intended to avoid taxes, labor laws, and safety regulations.

“Flag-of-convenience carriers threaten the economic security of hundreds of thousands of airline workers in the United States,” Ferguson said. “These schemes likewise pose a threat to passenger safety by preventing the development of a robust safety culture.”

Rep. DeFazio introduced a similar bill in the previous Congress that garnered 137 co-sponsors. The language of that bill was included in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, which the House overwhelmingly passed. The language was struck from the final draft during negotiations with the Senate.

“Once again, we urge lawmakers to approve this legislation promptly,” Ferguson said. “The hard-working men and women who keep our nation’s airlines flying are depending on you.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association — the largest independent pilots union in the United States — is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, including several hundred pilots on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s website is AlliedPilots.org.

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