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AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION -- THIS WEEK'S SCORE: FOREIGN AIRLINES 2, U.S. AIRLINES 0

 AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION --
 THIS WEEK'S SCORE: FOREIGN AIRLINES 2, U.S. AIRLINES 0
 WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The Air Line Pilots Association issued the following:
 United States trade negotiators and the Department of Transportation racked up a depressing 2-0 loss to foreign airlines this week at the expense of the U.S. airline industry.
 Yesterday the DOT announced that it was loosening its restrictions on the "Cities Program" whereby the department will give away rights for foreign airlines to serve U.S. cities; and last Friday U.S. trade negotiators signed an agreement to give the Dutch airline KLM access to Detroit, Baltimore and Minneapolis/St. Paul at virtually no cost.
 "We can't believe what our own government is doing to our own airline industry. They're giving it away a piece at a time and getting nothing in return," said Captain Randolph Babbitt, president of the Air Line Pilots Association.
 "Here we have Pan American and TWA, once our primary international carriers, teetering on the brink of extinction, and the healthy carriers are looking for access to foreign routes. But instead of trying to preserve our own weaker airlines and help the healthy carriers break into the lucrative foreign markets, the government is out there giving away access to our own domestic markets. We're squandering our air transport system's worldwide competitive edge at a prodigious rate. This time it was two losses in less than a week. It's absolute insanity," Babbitt said.
 "The Cities Program is nothing more than a subterfuge for the administration to pursue its Open Skies policy without having to negotiate access rights on a quid pro quo basis. DOT Secretary Samuel Skinner apparently thinks that the current system of bilateral negotiations for air transport rights between the U.S. and other countries is an impediment to Open Skies, so rather than have to go through the bother of negotiating access, he's just giving America away a city at a time," Babbitt said.
 "And even when we do negotiate through the bilateral process, our own negotiators are selling access to U.S markets at fire sale prices. We got virtually nothing of real value in exchange for giving the Dutch access to three more U.S. cities," Babbitt said.
 "The DOT and our trade negotiators haven't gotten the message yet. They're out there trying to buy support for their laissez-faire philosophy of airline economics. Meanwhile, our foreign competitors are stealing us blind and laughing all the way to the bank. They're using time-honored mercantilistic practices and policies, backed by supportive governments, that they've honed to perfection through centuries of trade competition. If this goes on, the U.S. air transport industry will lose its dominant position just as we squandered our lead in automobiles, steel and electronics," Babbitt said.
 "The answers to the larger questions of global competition are not simple, but in this case I can sum up the solution in one sentence: Stop giving away access to U.S. markets through the Cities Program, and obey the part of the Federal Aviation Act that says that bilateral concessions must provide a balance of benefits to both sides," Babbitt said.
 -0- 11/22/91
 /CONTACT: John Mazor of the Air Line Pilots Association, 202-797-4060/ CO: Air Line Pilots Association ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:


TW -- DC019 -- 6518 11/22/91 16:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 22, 1991
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