U.S. Pilots Will be Rallying at the White House Today: For What?
A group of pilots will be rallying at the White House today, in order to try to get the Trump Administration to reverse a decision from December they say will eliminate tens of thousands of jobs for Americans.
According to Fox News,
The group of roughly 100 Southwest Airlines and NetJets pilots will voice their opposition to a December 2 decision by the Transportation Department to allow Norwegian Air International to service the United States, arguing the airline can undercut labor costs because its headquarters is in Ireland.
Critics of that strategy call the business tactic a “flag of convenience scheme.”
Norwegian Air International is a subsidiary of low-cost European carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle, based in Norway.
“Even before President Trump was in office, we supported his pro-worker mantra,” Chip Hancock, a Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association official, said Monday. “He’s looking out for American workers.”
The pilots have until January 29th to get the Trump Administration to reserve the decision. Similarly to the arguments being made against Emirates, the union argues that Norwegian’s access is a violation of the Open Skies Treaty, which was not meant to circumvent labor standards, which differ between the United States and Ireland.
I’m not sure what’s so terrible here. Is it better that the government look for the well-being of one part of a large industry and take action to hurt consumers, or better yet, is it better for the government to look out for American consumers, the millions of them that travel, to make international travel even more affordable? The Open Skies Treaty has become a defense for every U.S. air carrier to fight unabashedly against any foreign competition. That’s not a good deal for consumers.
Given the rhetoric on trade Donald Trump made a token of his campaign platform, many of the airline unions see a new hope in preventing foreign airline competition from growing in the U.S. market. We should know by January 29th whether or not the Trump Administration will take that action.