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Allied Pilots Association: “Aviation Safety Must Be Paramount”

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 28, 2021) – The Allied Pilots Association (APA), representing the 15,000 pilots of American Airlines, applauded the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for today’s mark up of H.R. 3095.

Known as the Fair and Open Skies Act, the bill would prevent the Transportation Department from issuing a permit to a foreign airline if it would conflict with labor standards in the U.S.-EU-Iceland-Norway open skies agreement.

“We are pleased to see the Fair and Open Skies Act moving forward and grateful to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio and Aviation Subcommittee Chair Rick Larsen for their leadership on this vital issue,” said Allied Pilots Association President Capt. Eric Ferguson. “Flag-of-convenience schemes undermine safety and threaten the livelihoods of our nation’s hard-working, middle-class airline workers, and APA has invested a great deal of time and effort to prevent them from gaining a foothold in the United States.”

The bipartisan legislation seeks to preclude new foreign airlines from operating to and from the United States when they exploit “flags of convenience” to avoid the regulations of their home countries, or otherwise undermine labor standards.

“Airline crewmembers must be able to exercise an independent voice regarding safety concerns without fear of reprisal, which they typically cannot do under flag-of-convenience schemes,” Ferguson said.

The legislation would establish that preventing entry into U.S. markets by foreign airlines exploiting flags of convenience or undermining labor standards is in the U.S. public interest, and it would require DOT to consider these factors before granting a future foreign air carrier permit.

“We encourage Congress to enact this legislation promptly for the good of all concerned,” he said. “Aviation safety must be paramount.”

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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