The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has again called on the US government to start talks with Europe’s export credit agencies to eliminate financing on widebody aircraft, ahead of a hearing on the reauthorisation of the US Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) next month.

ALPA’s request is among a list of recommendations it released today in the third edition of its white paper, aimed at US lawmakers.

The union plans to be an “aggressive participator” in the hearing on Ex-Im’s reauthorisation, says ALPA president Lee Moak in a media briefing today. Ex-Im president Fred Hochberg said earlier this month that the House Committee on Financial Services has scheduled a hearing on 19 June for Ex-Im reauthorisation.

Legislation to reauthorise the bank must originate in the committee before going before the House of Representatives. Ex-Im’s existing authorisation expires on 30 September, which means the bank would be forced to stop operating on 1 October if it is not reauthorised before then.

ALPA is a plaintiff in several lawsuits to stop Ex-Im financing for widebodies for foreign airlines that are investment grade or state-owned.

Moak reiterates today that the union is not against the functions of Ex-Im, but says that the bank’s financing for widebody aircraft puts US airlines at a disadvantage. US carriers, along with those in the UK, France, Germany and Spain, do not get access to export credit agency financing due to a long-held agreement called the “home country rule”.

ALPA says other countries’ airlines are then able to secure financing for widebody aircraft at below market rates. These carriers then deploy these aircraft on routes also operated by US carriers. “This puts US airlines at a competitive disadvantage,” says Moak. Ex-Im has said US carriers are not at a disadvantage compared to foreign carriers.

The union says the US share of the international widebody fleet has fallen to 17% in June 2012 from a high of 45% as a result. “This share will drop to 5% in 2025. This should keep us awake at night,” says Moak.

ALPA is not against export credit agency financing for narrowbody aircraft, as these do not have the range to be operated on long-haul routes to the USA.

Source: Cirium Dashboard