Yesterday, President Obama announced that formal negotiations between the United States and the European Union (EU) will officially begin on July 8th in Washington, D.C. Formally called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership (TTIP), this free trade agreement will “seek improved market access on trade in services, and more.”
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has been hard at work educating Congress for the past three months regarding our concerns with the possible inclusion of air traffic rights in the TTIP. Representatives Mike Michaud (D-ME), Walter Jones (R-NC), Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Bill Foster (D-IL) are circulating a sign on letter to their colleagues which asks the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to inform the EU that air traffic rights will not be included in the TTIP negotiations.
Air traffic rights have been negotiated by the Department of State and Department of Transportation for over 20 years. Not one American business, labor group or federal agency has expressed an interest in including air traffic rights within the TTIP negotiations. The EU has pushed for inclusion of air traffic rights as they constantly seek to open up our domestic market to cabotage operations and increase the level of allowable foreign ownership and control of U.S. airlines. Such changes to our laws are not good for pilots or our carriers. The USTR fact sheet referenced in the story above mentions that the TTIP seeks to add to the 13 million jobs supported by transatlantic trade between the U.S and EU. Increasing foreign ownership and control of U.S. airlines will have the opposite effect for U.S. pilots.
For more information, please see ALPA’s new Leveling the Playing Field White Paper.