Yesterday, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), who serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure’s (T&I) Subcommittee on Highways & Transit, passed T&I and will move to the House floor for passage. H.R. 3095, the Fair and Open Skies Act, seeks to preclude new foreign airlines from operating to and from the United States when they exploit “flags of convenience” to avoid the regulations of their home countries, or otherwise undermine labor standards. The lead sponsor of H.R. 3095 is Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), who serves as Chairman of T&I.
“Our country operates one of the safest aviation systems in the world, yet foreign airlines who operate here are currently not required to follow our country’s safety and industry regulations,” said Ranking Member Rodney Davis. “Letting foreign airlines skirt regulations or labor standards in their home country only puts American workers and companies at a disadvantage. If a foreign air carrier wants to operate within the United States, then they need to play by the same rules we require of our airlines or they shouldn’t be permitted to operate within our borders. I’d like to thank Chairman DeFazio for leading on this issue and look forward to working with him to get our bipartisan bill across the finish line. ”
“By passing the ‘Fair and Open Skies Act’ yesterday, our committee has proven that we can work in a bipartisan manner to protect American aviation workers and their jobs from predatory foreign airlines looking to exploit the weaker labor laws of another country to unfairly get ahead. I’m grateful for Representative Davis’s partnership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him to get this bill signed into law.” – Chairman Peter DeFazio
Specifically, this legislation requires the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that any new foreign air carrier permit issued to a foreign airline that will fly between the United States and Europe under the U.S.-E.U.-Norway-Iceland Air Transport Agreement is consistent with the agreement’s requirements regarding fair labor standards and fair competition. In addition, this legislation establishes that preventing entry into U.S. markets by foreign airlines exploiting flags of convenience or undermining labor standards is in the U.S. public interest, and it requires DOT to consider these factors before granting a future foreign air carrier permit.
Organizations supporting the Fair and Open Skies Act are below. Quotes from supporting organizations can be found here.
- Air Line Pilots Association;
- Allied Pilots Association;
- Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association;
- Association of Flight Attendants-CWA;
- Association of Professional Flight Attendants;
- Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations;
- Communications Workers of America;
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers;
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters;
- International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots;
- NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots;
- Southwest Airlines Pilots Association;
- Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO;
- Transport Workers Union; and
- UNITE HERE.
Other co-leads of H.R. 3095include Reps. Rick Larsen (D-WA), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Conor Lamb (D-PA), Kaiali’i Kahele (D-HI), Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Jack Bergman (R-MI).