Below is a cross-post from ALPA President Lee Moak’s Leadership From the Cockpit blog. The original post appeared on Nov. 17th, 2013.
Today, the staggering news from the Dubai Air Show is this: a record-shattering number of aircraft orders totaling $162.6 billion within the first 3 hours of the airshow. These orders came from Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Flydubai.
It’s a challenge just to process the enormity of that number and how it will change the global landscape of our industry. In fact, it blew through the projected record-breaking figure of $70 billion in orders. It illustrates even more clearly the enormous economic threat to the U.S. airline industry and its employees if the U.S. government continues to implement or sustain policies that hand foreign competitors an economic advantage over U.S. airlines in the global marketplace.
It’s no secret these airlines are seeking to gain our marketshare of the flying public. So, my first question in response to the number of orders is: How many of these widebody aircraft orders will be financed by a U.S. or European taxpayer-backed export credit agency, subsidizing the aircraft orders at rates and terms not available to U.S. airlines?
Until we know that answer, it’s unclear just how much our own government policies will stifle our ability to compete in the coming years. But, what we do know is that money is clearly not an issue with these specific competitors and they are using Open Skies agreements and state-supported airlines to fuel their rapid growth into U.S. markets.
Case in point: new widebody aircraft orders including Boeing and Airbus: 368, including huge orders for the new 777x, the colossal A380, and the ultra-fuel efficient 787 and A350. These new aircraft will add to the existing and already-ordered widebodies of Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways. They bring the total for those 3 airlines to 1,000 widebodies––dwarfing the existing widebody fleets of all North American airlines.
Let that sink in. Go to www.alpa.org/hottopics to learn more.
It’s time for the U.S. government to act toward Leveling the Playing Field for U.S. Airlines and Their Employees