PILOTS ATTACK U.S. GIVEAWAYS IN 'OPEN SKIES' CAMPAIGN; CALL U.S./NETHERLANDS AGREEMENT 'GROTESQUELY LOPSIDED'
PILOTS ATTACK U.S. GIVEAWAYS IN 'OPEN SKIES' CAMPAIGN; CALL U.S./NETHERLANDS AGREEMENT 'GROTESQUELY LOPSIDED' WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Air Line Pilots Association today criticized the international agreement between the United States and the Netherlands -- the first such pact to result from the U.S. Department of Transportation's new definition of "open skies." "We are extremely disappointed. The agreement is a one-way street," said Captain J. Randolph Babbitt, president of the union that represents 42,000 pilots at 44 U.S. carriers. "It provides KLM with extraordinary opportunity at the expense of U.S. airlines, and ultimately U.S. workers. "The Dutch are ecstatic about the deal; they know they've hit gold. In today's marketplace, with U.S. airlines struggling desperately to survive, I am astounded that this administration would open the door to a foreign carrier that is government owned without asking fair and equal opportunities for U.S. airlines and then have the audacity to call this 'fair trade' and 'free enterprise,'" Babbitt said. The agreement, signed Sept. 4, will provide Dutch carrier KLM, which is 38 percent owned by the Dutch government, with unprecedented access to U.S. markets. According to ALPA it has been described in the aviation press as "bait the U.S. hopes will be snapped up" by other larger trading partners such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Immediate reaction from European trade representatives, however, has been generally negative, ALPA said. "We have seen nothing to suggest that this grotesquely lopsided deal will succeed in securing increased opportunities for U.S. carriers," Babbitt stated. "To the contrary, the administration's 'open skies' trade policy as represented by the U.S./Netherlands agreement will hurt U.S. airlines. "This is an important issue not only because of the negative effect on U.S. companies and workers but also because it suggests that the administration is operating outside the boundaries of federal regulations. The Federal Aviation Act establishes as an international aviation policy objective 'the strengthening of the competitive position of United States air carriers,' and sets a statutory goal that opportunities for foreign carriers to increase their access to the United States may be given 'if exchanged for benefits of a similar magnitude' for U.S. interests. Clearly, the one-sided U.S./Netherlands deal fails to satisfy those objectives. "We call on President Bush and DOT Secretary Andrew Card to honor these objectives in future negotiations," Babbitt concluded. "Previous administrations oversaw the demise of the U.S. electronics, automobile, steel, textile and other industries. This nation cannot afford the death of another U.S. industry, or the loss of more U.S. jobs. The U.S. airline transportation system is a crucial national resource, and the future of that industry depends on this administration's commitment to and defense of fair trade agreements," he said. -0- 9/10/92 /NOTE: Copies of ALPA's comments to the Department of Transportation regarding "open skies" are available./ /CONTACT: Julie Reneau or David Mallino of the Air Line Pilots Association, 202-797-4060/ CO: Air Line Pilots Association ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU: EXE
TW -- DC017 -- 8021 09/10/92 12:23 EDT
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|Date:||Sep 10, 1992|
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