American Airlines CEO Doug Parker laid out a case in the Wall Street Journal three years ago that the fight to get the federal government to reduce Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar access to U.S. markets, reduce consumer choice, and raise prices was all about protecting American jobs.
U.S. unemployment is at historic lows. Airline employment is at a peak. And more flights bring more jobs.
It was never about jobs. That was a fig leaf. It was about using the government to help shareholders pick the pockets of consumers. (How has that worked out for shareholders?)
At first unions were on board. But now the Transportation Workers Union, which represents American’s mechanics, points out that American management isn’t as motivated by American jobs as they claim.
[According to a study commissioned by TWU] nearly 50% by value of maintenance work on U.S.-registered aircraft are actually carried out in maintenance facilities outside of the United States.
Now TWU also makes the flat out false claim that outsourced maintenance is somehow less safe.
- Airline travel is safer than ever, and that’s worldwide not just in the U.S. Maintenance work abroad in most of the world is extremely safe. In fact in one ranking there’s only a single US carrier among the world’s 15 safest.
- The safest airlines around the world have their maintenance done throughout the world.
- Current U.S.-based maintenance is dragging down American’s operation.
- Cheaper maintenance costs means there’s less of a reason to avoid spending on maintenance. It’s expensive maintenance than an airline might be more inclined to skimp on.
American Airlines fronted the money for raises to their mechanics without getting a new contract and that’s made it harder to get a contract, especially since the airline wants to outsource more maintenance work and get legacy US Airways mechanics to accept less generous health benefits. American asked for mediation.
Doug Parker wants to outsource U.S. maintenance jobs. That probably makes sense for the airline. Their mechanics though now realize the public claim about the importance of ‘protecting American jobs’ was self-serving nonsense.