OTTAWA – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) issued the following response to the Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA’s) release this week of two decisions. The CTA confirmed that Sunwing Airlines Inc. operates within Canada’s foreign ownership and control limits. The agency also approved Sunwing’s application for wet lease of foreign aircraft and pilots through spring 2013.
“The Canadian Transportation Agency’s (CTA) recent decisions confirming that Sunwing Airlines continues to be controlled by Canadians and approving the airline’s application to use foreign flight crews and aircraft on a seasonal basis underscore a growing concern in the Canadian airline industry.
“While we respect the CTA’s decision on ownership, the fact of the matter is for this winter season, more than half of Sunwing’s pilots will be foreign and two-thirds of their aircraft will be leased from abroad.
“As for the CTA’s decision allowing Sunwing to wet lease foreign aircraft, simply put, with the absence of a Canadian wet lease policy, the agency had little choice but to grant the application. ALPA has long advocated for restricting this practice as it allows foreign pilots to perform flying that can and should be done by Canadian pilots. At a time when a number of qualified Canadian pilots have been furloughed from their airlines, ALPA believes that the granting of this application undermines the viability of Canadian airlines and deprives Canadian pilots of work opportunities.
“ALPA does, however, applaud the CTA for recognizing this problem by taking the initiative to review the way the agency approaches wet lease applications. Further, ALPA commends the agency’s initiative to consult with industry stakeholders such as ALPA regarding wet lease approval requirements and the considerations that the agency should undertake in its assessment of necessity under the regulations. We look forward to working cooperatively with the agency and other interested parties to establish appropriate guidelines for a Canadian wet lease policy that help level the playing field for all Canadian airlines and bring our furloughed members back to work.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 51,000 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada, including the 2,800 Canadian flight crewmembers who fly for Air Transat, Bearskin, Calm Air, Canadian North, CanJet, First Air, Jazz, Kelowna Flightcraft, and Wasaya. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.