A Victory in Washington. More to Do, Demand Action from our Leaders Now

Captain Lee Moak, President of the Air Line Pilots Association, sent the following message to ALPA members today.  He urged all ALPA pilots to write the White House today and oppose the establishment of a preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi airport.  Pilots are determined to ensure the U.S. government puts CBP resources in U.S. airlines’ and their employees’ corner.

Fellow ALPA Pilots,

Yesterday, Congress passed legislation containing critical ALPA-backed language that stalls the Administration’s proposal to establish a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The measure, which was contained in bipartisan legislation to fund Congress through the remainder of fiscal year 2013, prohibits CBP from accepting third-party reimbursements to begin or expand services at facilities outside the United States.

As you know, the Administration’s proposed CBP facility at Abu Dhabi would exclusively benefit Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) national airline, because no U.S. airlines currently serve the airport. Were the flawed proposal to go forward, Etihad Airways would be able to offer its passengers the convenience of clearing U.S. Customs while still in the UAE. As a result, the heavily state-backed foreign airline would gain a significant competitive advantage over U.S. airlines in attracting customers seeking to fly from Asia or the Middle East to the United States.

The passage of this ALPA-supported language is a direct result of the efforts of the ALPA members who participated in the Call to Action, the pilot volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to visiting their elected representatives, the contributors to ALPA-PAC, and our union’s Government Affairs team. In fact, nearly 700 ALPA members participated in our Call to Action in the last 24 hours—this is a powerful demonstration of support and understanding of this important issue. Thank you.

And though this vote is important progress, our work is far from over. While the CBP is prohibited from accepting reimbursement from the UAE for an Abu Dhabi facility under current budget authority, this fight will continue in the next fiscal year.

We must make it clear to the Administration and Congress that this flawed proposal must come to a halt. Our government leaders need to ensure that U.S. government preclearance facility resources benefit U.S. airlines and their employees, not their state-backed competitors.

We’ve seen what we can achieve by working together to advance pro-pilot policy in Congress, but we have the opportunity to do much more. If you haven’t already, please join ALPA’s Call to Action opposing the Administration’s CBP proposal to leave no doubt that this misguided proposal should be completely stopped.


Capt. Lee Moak 

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