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AFA-CWA Says DOT Ruling Encourages Foreign Ownership

Date: March 21, 2007

New DOT Ruling Puts Industry in the Hands of Foreign Competitors

Washington, DC -The Department of Transportation (DOT) yesterday green lighted an application from Virgin America despite the fact that the revised application still shows that it is under foreign ownership. The DOT ruling contends that Virgin America "stills falls short of the rigorous standards we apply when determining if U.S. interests have 'actual control' of the airline." The decision comes just days before a controversial treaty between the European Union and the United States will be decided by European officials.

"This ruling is hypocritical and nothing but a trade off to buy European approval of the US/EU treaty," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "The DOT is completely ignoring their own well established rules that have protected the U.S. aviation industry and its employees for years. This decision by DOT is just one more bad trade deal at the expense of American workers."

The DOT had previously rejected Virgin America's application based on the same principal that it could not prove that it was owned and operated by U.S. citizens. However, despite the fact that foreign ownership rules were waived in this case, the DOT placed six conditions in the current application. Of these conditions, Virgin Group is mentioned in five of them, still showing the Virgin Group's overwhelming presence in controlling Virgin America.

"The U.S. aviation industry is just finally starting to recover from a dark period and now our government wants to throw it another curve ball which it clearly can not handle at this time. 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. Once the increased competition comes in and the price wars begin, airlines will once again turn to their employees to bail them out of a financial hole. Every job created will be at the expense of an existing job that will be lost or diminished," said Friend.

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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