WASHINGTON, D.C.—- The head of the nation’s largest pilot union today called for Congressional hearings into the failure of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board to provide airlines with loan guarantees to help ailing airlines weather the effects of 9/11.
“It is absolutely astonishing that the ATSB could get it so completely, totally wrong. A top item on the Congressional agenda when it comes back from recess should be hearings to take a long, hard look at how the ATSB has failed its mandate, particularly in turning down loan guarantees for United Airlines,” said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, which represents most pilots in the U.S., including those at United.
“Congress clearly intended that the ATSB was to provide a counterbalance to the devastating effects of the terrorist attacks on our industry. United crews, United passengers, and United aircraft were the targets of the 9/11 attacks. How can you possibly not make the connection between that and what Congress instructed the ATSB to provide for the industry?” Woerth said.
“We’ve already heard from leaders in the House and Senate who share our astonishment and indignation. I urge them to schedule hearings as soon as possible, and if necessary, change the law to either give the ATSB clear marching orders that cannot be thwarted, or replace it with a more responsive and responsible entity,” Woerth said.
“We will work closely with those in the House and Senate who understand the need to provide relief to the segments of our industry that were hardest hit by the terrorist attacks. To stand by idly while this crucial part of our economic infrastructure sinks into disruption and bankruptcies only amplifies the effects of the terrorist actions of more than a year ago,” Woerth said.
ALPA represents 66,000 airline pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Its Web page is at http://www.alpa.org.