Today, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) spoke out for New Jersey air travel jobs at a rally at Newark Airport with representatives from United, American, and Delta airlines as well as the Association of Flight Attendants and the Air Line Pilot’s Association. They came together to express opposition to foreign governments subsidizing flights to crowd out American carriers and undermine market competition. Gottheimer previously joined with a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress from New York and New Jersey in sending a letter to the Administration on this issue
“I am proud to stand with you today in support of Newark Airport and the thousands upon thousands of local jobs that depend on it,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “The men and women of the Air Line Pilot’s Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and others work hard, but they can’t compete with their hands tied behind their back. And our airlines can’t grow and invest here in infrastructure and new airplanes if they are in the crosshairs of anti-competitive carriers.”
Video of Gottheimer’s remarks is available online HERE.
His remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below.
For those of you who do not know me, I’m Josh Gottheimer, the new Congressman from the Fifth District of North Jersey
I represent Bergen, Passaic, Warren and Sussex counties, and scores of pilots, flight attendants, and airport workers who keep us moving every day.
I am proud to stand with you today in support of Newark Airport and the thousands upon thousands of local jobs that depend on it.
As you all know, Newark was the first major airport in New York’s metro area and has stood proud since its first flight in 1928.
It’s been an essential hub of our national and regional transportation network ever since. 37 million passengers flew through here in 2015.
This airport represents 162,000 jobs and $23 billion in economic activity to the region.
The engines of economic opportunity and growth we hear roaring above us are at great risk today.
So, I stand with you here this morning because I will not stay quiet while there are New Jersey jobs at stake.
I stand with you today because United has 14,000 employees whose livelihoods are on the line.
And the other airlines that fly in and out of this facility – including American Airlines and Delta — have thousands of other employees whose families depend on their work here at Newark and whose companies are key drivers of the American economy.
I stand with you today because each of those employees works hard to provide safe and comfortable flights—nearly 400 each day that depart out of Newark.
But their work is being jeopardized by unfair subsidies from foreign governments.
Since 2004, the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have provided more than $50 billion in unfair subsidies to their own carriers.
These subsidies allow Emirates Airline to fly nearly empty planes back and forth across the ocean in an effort to clear the field of competition. And they’ve succeeded to date, literally forcing American airlines to cancel the overseas flights they offer to folks who live in my district. Every lost overseas route costs 1,500 American jobs.
The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are literally propping up their airlines, stuffing them with billions of dollars, to undermine our great American airlines – and our American jobs.
So, they are paying billions to keep their airplanes flying and our airplanes, pilots, and flight attendants grounded.
They’re spending billions to skew the free market and crowd out United States carriers.
The men and women of the Air Line Pilot’s Association, the Association of Flight Attendants, and others work hard, but they can’t compete with their hands tied behind their back.
And our airlines can’t grow and invest here in infrastructure and new airplanes if they are in the crosshairs of anti-competitive carriers.
Not only is that unfair, but these massive foreign government subsidies are in violation of international agreements including Open Skies.
Here’s the good news: we can do something to level the playing field. And it’s long past time that we did. For too long, our government has looked the other way. It’s time for a change.
That’s why the majority of the New Jersey and New York delegations and I recently sent a bipartisan letter to the Administration to make clear that we support expanding flight options and connectivity. But we do not support these Gulf state propped up flights that cost American jobs, damage and undermine our airlines, and could violate international trade agreements.
Because we believe in American jobs and American companies.
This is not a partisan issue–it’s an American jobs issue.
I will continue to do everything I can to stand up for you and for New Jersey jobs.
Thank you again for your work on this important issue, and thank you for inviting me to join you today.
God bless you and may God bless the United States of America.