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U.S. Airline Industry: Not for Sale

Date: June 13, 2006

Blocked at U.S. Ports, Foreign Capital Comes after U.S. Airlines 

Flight Attendants Launch Massive Grassroots Effort to Save U.S. Aviation

CHICAGODirectly in line with the Dubai ports deal, the Bush Administration bypassed Congress and arbitrarily set a rule that changes long-standing aviation law to allow foreign control of U.S. airlines and their operations. United Airlines Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, AFA-CWA, AFL-CIO, has launched a massive grassroots campaign to protect U.S. aviation. United Master Executive Council (MEC) President Greg Davidowitch made the following statement about the critical call to action to save U.S. aviation: 

"Allowing foreign investors to slice up our airline industry is not good for workers, the traveling public or the communities we serve. The Bush plan to carve up our airlines and serve them to foreign interests on a silver platter is one that deserves serious Congressional scrutiny. Congress should be concerned not only about the impact on our safety and security but the viability of our jobs and the communities we support.

"Think about it: if the Bush Administration has its way US airlines could soon be run from board rooms in Saudi Arabia and Shanghai. Airline operations throughout the U.S. could be controlled by executives in Tehran, Tripoli and Timbuktu. That would be a far worse public policy outcome than allowing our allies in Dubai to administer U.S. port operations.

"The cost of allowing foreign control over a vital national interest far outweighs any short-term gains for deal makers and proponents of such an action. Speaker Hastert should be less concerned with United Airlines moving its headquarters out of Illinois and more concerned with those headquarters being moved out of the United States. As a matter of public policy, Congress should reject any plan that includes the sale of vital American interests.

"This arbitrary change in aviation law will likely trigger the long-awaited industry consolidation which could shake out in favor of foreign airlines to the detriment of the American traveling public. Turning over the industry so vital to our nation's commerce will ripple tsunami waves through our corporations, small businesses and communities. We cannot allow foreign capital to determine which American cities will be provided air service and which will be abandoned when they have no intrinsic interest in our well being.

"Aviation law with limits to foreign ownership was debated by Congress and put into place long ago for good reason. There's no way to know the extent of harm in changing these rules because Congress has been usurped by the Bush Administration as it cut off discussion, debate or even Congressional study of the issue."

More than 46,000 Flight Attendants, including the 17,000 Flight Attendants at United, join together to form AFA, the world's largest Flight Attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000 member strong Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.unitedafa.org.

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