WASHINGTON, D.C., May 8, 2014 – Pilots and flight attendants for Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) are meeting with Members of Congress this week to discuss how the Export-Import Bank of the United States harms U.S. airlines and their employees by subsidizing widebody aircraft purchases by foreign state-owned and supported carriers.
The 27 employees – 20 flight attendants and seven pilots - brought their message to the offices of more than 100 Members of Congress, urging them to enact reforms that will level the playing field for U.S. airlines when the Bank is reauthorized later this year.
“This is a grave concern, because our government is picking winners and losers through their policy decisions,” said John White, a Delta pilot based in Detroit. “U.S. airlines are being disadvantaged by our government, making it impossible to compete.”
Delta Flight Attendant Mathew Palmer echoed those concerns.
“The Ex-Im Bank is giving a big advantage to foreign airlines that fly alongside ours,” said Palmer, who is based in New York City. “That’s why it’s so important that flight attendants, and all U.S. airline employees, make sure our voices are heard in Washington.”
Airline employees have been advocating for reform of the Bank’s practice of providing guarantees for state-owned and supported foreign airlines to purchase widebody aircraft, which are then deployed against U.S. carriers on international routes. Those guarantees directly threaten U.S. airline jobs, because state-owned and supported foreign carriers enjoy a significant financial advantage on international flights thanks to the Bank’s loan guarantees.
The Bank routinely fails to consider the harm its transactions have on U.S. airline employees, despite the fact that 65 percent of the total money authorized for long-term guarantees supported the export of aircraft in fiscal 2013. Most of the purchases backed by Ex-Im guarantees are to creditworthy foreign airlines that have access to commercial loans.
“This is a great opportunity to represent the thousands of airline employees who are concerned about this issue,” Palmer said. “It’s a real honor to be here with my Delta colleagues.”
Delta Air Lines serves nearly 165 million customers each year. This year, Delta was named the 2014 Airline of the Year by Air Transport World magazine and was named to FORTUNE magazine’s top 50 Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the third time in four years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 322 destinations in 59 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry’s leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a newly formed joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on delta.com, Twitter @Delta, Google.com/+Delta, Facebook.com/delta and Delta’s blog takingoff.delta.com.