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Mon, Mar 24, 2003

ALPA Ad Honors Military Service of Airline Pilots

Ad Also Calls for Action to Save Their Jobs

The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA), the union that represents most of the nation's airline pilots, has placed a full-page color advertisement to run in the Monday editions of USA Today and Roll Call.

They did this to honor the military service of airline pilots in the Iraq war, and call for government action to help airlines survive the economic downturns exacerbated by the 9/11 terrorist attack and the effects of the war.

Called Up For "Iraqi Freedom"

The advertisement notes that airline pilots at many carriers have been called from reserve duty to serve as military pilots, while others fly airliners that have been requisitioned by the government to provide airlift under the Civil Reserve Air Fleet or fly contracted cargo aircraft. Part of the text says that "(ALPA) salutes the brave men and women who have exchanged their regular (airline) duties to carry out the duty of protecting our nation. Our hearts and prayers go out to these Americans in the earnest hope for their quick and safe return."

What About After The War?

Going beyond the traditional well-wishing, though, the text then asks "But when these pilots return, what can they count on?" and points to a devastated airline industry. It concludes with a call on the Congress and the Administration to act swiftly to "provide relief from crushing taxes, shoulder the costs of security, bolster available fuel resources through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, make available temporary pension funding relief for passenger airlines, and extend the war-risk insurance program."

"It definitely is a two-part message," said Capt. Duane Woerth, president of ALPA. "We wanted to recognize the valor and sense of duty of those pilots who are heeding our nation's call; but we also want them to have something to come back to," said Woerth, who was called up as a reserves pilot in the first Gulf War.

"By law, every reservist called to duty has to have a job waiting for him or her at their workplace, but what good is that guarantee if the employers they come back to are bankrupt or have had to lay off half their workers?" he said.

"After my recent meetings with Congressional leaders, I think that many of them understand now that the government cannot simply sit back and let this vital part of our economic infrastructure slide into catastrophe. Our hope is that this advertisement demonstrates ALPA's commitment to work with all members of Congress and the White House, and that it will move them to action," he said.

A copy of the advertisement can be seen at www.alpa.org starting on Monday.

FMI: www.alpa.org

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