Star membership threatens US jobs says association
Pilots from United Airlines have called on President Barack Obama to delay approval of anti-trust immunity that would allow it and Continental Airlines to work more closely with airlines in the Star Alliance.
The US Department of Transportation (DoT) is currently reviewing an application by the two airlines which would see them working more closely with carriers like Lufthansa.
In a letter to the White House, Captain Steve Wallach, chairman of the United Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilots Association, said Star membership could threaten US jobs.
"We are not opposed to the Alliance itself. However, we are concerned that this application does not adequately address the very real threats to American workers' jobs," Captain Wallach said.
The Association accepted that airline alliances had increased international flying, but "at the expense of US carriers."
"Protections for American workers" should be added into the anti-trust applications before they are approved, the Association said.
Captain Wallach urged President Obama to ask the DoT to "consider input from all entities involved - corporate, labour, consumer and government agencies - to fully understand the ramifications of granting an approval without such protections."
The Association pointed out that only two of the 20 Star members are US airlines, an alliance which is expected to grow to 50 "nearly all non-US carriers."
"Increasingly, passengers booking international travel on United Airlines are likely to find themselves flying on foreign airlines," it said.
President Obama's stance on US protectionism has in the past been called into question as a potential threat to greater transatlantic airline co-operation.
For further insight see ABTN Analysis: Mr Obama, Europe and Aviation (Nov 10) and Open Skies: a year on (Mar 23).
www.united.com www.continental.com http://crewroom.alpa.org/ual/ www.staralliance.com