CAPA supports H.R. 3095 “Fair and Open Skies Act of 2021”, bi-partisan legislation introduced by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rick Larsen (D-Wash), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rodney Davis (R-IL) and  Drew Ferguson (R-GA).  This important bill will ensure that authorizations issued by the Secretary of Transportation to foreign air carriers do not undermine labor (rights) or safety standards.

H.R. 3095 will require the DOT Secretary, to consider, when issuing foreign air permits, possible “erosion of labor standards associated with flag of convenience carriers”. It would also prohibit the Secretary, in some cases, from issuing foreign air permits unless the Secretary determines the airline will not “undermine labor standards”.

Multi-national airlines with their controversial plan of trans-Atlantic service under an Irish Air Operating Certificate (AOC) is “contracting out” crewmembers that are not direct employees of the airline. The pilots and flight attendants are being hired from a variety of countries around the world where traditional labor and safety standards do not apply.

It is not an acceptable safety structure, and it sets a dangerous precedent for the safety of the flying public. Additionally, it carries the potential for significant loss of important U.S. jobs.  The exemption that was recently issued to NAI was neither carefully scrutinized nor considered on its merit with regards to the safety of the flying public.

The potential loss of our indigenous airline industry is clearly not in the public interest, which was one of the requirements for the approval of such an application to exempt a foreign carrier. Additionally, safety and operational oversight including labor standards contemplated in their application, and in numerous public statements by the management of NAI, indicate a cognitive effort to degrade the current industry standards, particularly those of the U.S. aviation industry.

Aviation is a crucial component of our U.S. economy, and we must ensure that a level playing field is provided for U.S. carriers to compete globally, and to ensure that aviation safety and labor protections are held to the highest standards. We cannot allow the U.S. airline industry to suffer the same fate as the U.S. merchant marine fleet decades ago, by flag-of-convenience carriers.  We must halt the potential loss of U.S. aviation jobs, protect the U.S. aviation industry, all while protecting the safety of the American flying public.