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AFA-CWA Says Airlines Future In Jeopardy

Date: March 20, 2007

New DOT Ruling Puts Industry in the Hands of Foreign Competitors  

Washington, DCLast year, the Department of Transportation (DOT) rejected a foreign airline's bid to enter the U.S. aviation market because the airline, Virgin America, could not prove that it was owned and operated by U.S. citizens. Virgin America since resubmitted their application and today, the DOT said the airline succeeded in meeting the citizenship test. This decision comes just days before a controversial treaty between the European Union and the United States will be decided by European officials.

"The DOT's decision today is nothing but a trade off to buy European approval of the US/EU treaty," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "But what everyone fails to realize is that this decision will set a deadly precedent and open the door to foreign competition in our aviation industry."

Like every decision that concerns the industry, it will be the aviation employees who ultimately deal with the effects. Once the market is open to foreign competition and foreign controlled airlines begin take off in the U.S., their success will come on the backs of current airlines and employees. For every job that is created, it will be at the expense of an existing job that will be lost due to increased competition.

"The U.S. aviation market is one of the last, strong domestic industries that has not been invaded by foreign competition, yet our officials seems dedicated to destroying it. And through their shortsightedness, it will once again be the flight attendants and the rest of the middle class who suffer," said Friend.

In February, AFA-CWA made a direct appeal to its over 55,000 members urging a letter writing blitz to local and federal officials urging them to reject Virgin America's application and protect a recovering domestic aviation industry from foreign control.

AFA-CWA will have additional comments once the full report has been released.

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org. 

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