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Emirates New Milan–N.Y. Route Threatens U.S. Aviation Jobs

October 2, 2013 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Emirates Airline’s new route from Milan to New York, slated to begin Tuesday, is a clear first step in long-term strategy by a heavily supported state-owned foreign airline to undercut U.S. airlines and hurt U.S. jobs.

The new route goes head-to-head with long-established U.S. carrier routes between New York and Milan. This is a flight that originated in Dubai and, instead of a direct flight, Emirates is adding a stopover in a popular European destination in order to draw new business. Clearly, this is the beginning of a dangerous trend by state-owned foreign carriers, one that threatens U.S. jobs, U.S. passengers and ultimately the future of the U.S. aviation system, which contributes $1 trillion to our economy each year.

Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) said of the new route: “Ultimately, this is about saving U.S. jobs. If we are not able to compete fairly, the U.S. airlines industry willdisappear. Foreign carriers like Emirates play by different rules. As state-owned and state-supported, they have unlimited checking accounts and do not have to abide by the same tax, security and regulatory policies that U.S. carriers do. We can’t stop the way they do business, but we are asking the U.S. government to make aviation policy decisions that advance the U.S. airline industry – not harm it.”

Today, under the current structure, U.S. airlines face excessive taxes, a burdensome regulatory environment, inadequate and stalled infrastructure funding, and federal policy that permits an unlevel playing field in the global market.

Conversely, Emirates Airline does business tax-free in the United Arab Emirates. It flies new, fuel-efficient aircraft subsidized by U.S. taxpayers, benefits from pro-aviation national policy, and operates at state-of-the-art airports funded by tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment by its government.

“Many foreign countries view their airlines’ success as critical to diversifying their national economy in the face of finite natural resources,” added Capt. Moak. “We are asking the U.S. government to show similar tenacity in advancing the U.S. airline industry that ultimately has a positive effect on the country’s economy as a whole.”

U.S. airlines fly approximately half a million passengers a year between New York and Milan. While the prospect of U.S. airlines’ losing international passengers to heavily- state-supported foreign airlines is troubling on its own merits, U.S. domestic passengers and air cargo shippers could also feel the repercussions in the long-term.

“The entire U.S. air transportation system – and the thousands of jobs it supports – could be at risk if the U.S. government does not ensure our airlines a fair opportunity to compete to perform this international flying,” Capt. Moak said. “The entire aviation industry and Americans throughout the country must stand up to ensure the long-term health of our airlines and our aviation jobs.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 50,000 pilots at 33 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.

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