ALPA First VP Captain Sean Cassidy represented the organization today at a Congressional Roundtable on the EU-ETS. Captain Cassidy joined the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Aviation Subcommittee, as well as representatives of the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of State, the U.S. airline industry. Captain Cassidy discussed the impact of the EU-ETS on pilot and aviation jobs, and urged the Administration and Congress to act to block U.S. participation in the scheme. The timing of the Congressional roundtable coincided with the publishing of an op-ed in today’s USA Today by ALPA President Captain Lee Moak with A4A President Nick Calio opposing the EU ETS.
ALPA opposes the EU-ETS, as it will impose further taxes on the airline industry, reduce the ability of U.S. airlines to invest in emission-reduction technology, and violates the sovereignty of the U.S. Also, today, Captain Lee Moak met with Administration officials at the White House and asked them to file an Article 84 complaint against the EU in order to challenge the legality of the scheme. Captain Cassidy’s opening statement to the roundtable is below:
“Good morning, and thank you for inviting me to this important roundtable. I’m Sean Cassidy, and I serve as First Vice President of the Air Line Pilots Association Int’l as well as its National Safety Coordinator. I am also an Alaska Airlines Captain. ALPA is the world’s largest representative of commercial airline pilots representing 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.
“ALPA opposes the EU Emissions Trading Scheme because it effectively serves as a further tax on commercial aviation, projected to cost $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020. This new tax burden, if unaddressed, will invariably lead to job loss in an industry which still has not recovered from terrorist attacks, bankruptcies, high oil prices, and other economic difficulties.
“Today, on average fuel represents about 35% of our airlines operating costs and is the largest expense for our industry. Because of this, our companies are under tremendous market pressure to reduce fuel consumption and emissions so they may continue to compete in the world market. Being greener leads to a better bottom line, so they do not need any artificial incentives to urge them to make the best possible use of every gallon of jet fuel they purchase.
“This is demonstrated by the fact that between 1978 and 2008, fuel efficiency improved by 110%. Between 2002 and 2008, we reduced fuel consumption even further, while transporting 17% more cargo and passengers. As the nation with the biggest exposure to the EU’s ETS, we believe that the United States must lead an international response to the ETS at ICAO, and file an Article 84 complaint against the EU.
“The U.S. must also continue to work through ICAO on a meaningful global emissions program. No single region can face this challenge alone, and international problems demand international solutions. We should not sit on the sidelines any longer, as other countries opt out of the EU ETS, and our airlines and their employees are forced to compete on an unlevel playing field that places our airline industries at a disadvantage, and threatens our pilots’ careers.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to a productive dialogue with all of you on this very important economic issue.”