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Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
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Alco83

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Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« on: Oct 17th, 2007, 3:37pm »
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Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
October 16, 2007
 
Trains Newswire:  OTTAWA, Ontario - The Air Line Pilots Association International is denouncing Transport Canada's decision to provide VIA Rail Canada with $691 million. It was the first significant injection of new money to the cash-strapped rail corporation in years. The Canadian government announced last week that it was providing the money.
 
The ALPA said in a news release that excessive airport rent, fuel excise taxes, and security costs burden the country's airline industry. "It's time to treat all modes of transportation equally, especially in a country as big as Canada," said Capt. Dan Adamus, president of the ALPA Canada Board. "Air travel is not a luxury - it is necessary to do business and will only serve to strengthen our economy. The government's regressive taxation approach toward aviation needs to be overhauled."
 
"The federal government must understand that the airline industry is not a cash cow, and that subsidizing one form of transportation while excessively taxing another only punishes those Canadians who fly in and out of their rural communities," said Adamus. "Transport Canada set a $691 million precedent this week - and we expect air transport to be next in line."
 
The ALPA failed to mention the indirect subsidies received each year by the airline industry, including government support of airports and air traffic control systems.


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ClydeDET
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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #1 on: Oct 17th, 2007, 7:02pm »
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Of course "The ALPA failed to mention the indirect subsidies received each year by the airline industry, including government support of airports and air traffic control systems" - while rail is no real competition for the airline industry these days, except for fairly short trips tht nobody should be flying for anyway, NOBODY in the airline industry wants to see rail looking good. Might result in somebody actually LOOKING at those indirect (and direct) subsides airlines get, and if they found (as they claim they want) out there was REALLY going to be a level playing field - it would sound like a whole herd of water buffaloes being gelded.

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Spenda
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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #2 on: Oct 18th, 2007, 10:13pm »
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Actually, there is at least one person in the airline industry who would like to see passenger rail doing well, and who doesn't begrudge the money the federal government has ponied up for Via Rail.  I am an airline pilot and last week I had the pleasure of taking three trips with Via Rail.  I could have travelled for much cheaper by travelling by air, but I didn't because I enjoy travelling by train, and because I am a strong supporter of passenger rail in Canada.  My feeling is that it would be wrong to support the railway in principle, but not in practice.  I couldn't be happier that the government has provided this money for Via and I hope they benefit from it.  
 
There is no doubt that all forms of transport receive some sort of subsidy, whether transparent or not.  It probably won't be long before the bus companies start complaining about the money the government has handed Via whilst conveniently forgetting that the highways are largely funded from provincial and federal coffers.
 
Here's the thing.  I agree that the airline industry as a whole probably doesn't want the hassle of increased competition from a revitalized passenger railway service, but that isn't to say that there aren't people who work within the airline industry who are pleased to see Via get some attention from the government.
 
I should point out that I am not a member of ALPA Canada, but I have experience with a couple of other pilot's unions and it wouldn't surprise me to see either of them complain under these circumstances.  Keep in mind that while the unions try and act in the interest of their membership, the opinions of the unions to not necessarily mirror the opinions of their membership.  Some pilots would agree with ALPA's stance, and others, like myself, would disagree.  
 
If it seems I have my priorities all wrong, I admit that I have a vested interest in keeping people off the rails and in the skies to put food on the table and a roof over the heads of my wife and child.  I am pretty junior at the company I work for and I will be the first to get laid off if there is a downturn in the aviation industry.  That said, to my mind certain modes of transport make more sense than others for certain trips.  I believe the most effective transport system is an integrated one that can make the best use of the benefits of a wide variety of modes.  With that in mind, I couldn't be happier that Via has got some money to spend.  I hope they use it wisely to benefit as many Canadians as they can.  I look forward to their network expanding so that I may continue to use their services in the future.  Equally, I look forward to prosperous times for us all in the transport industry.  With any luck one day enough people will see the light that all these different modes can complement one another while providing some needed, healthy competition.
 
I hope I've raised my status from NOBODY to somebody.  That's all I really want to be.
 
 


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ehbowen
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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #3 on: Oct 19th, 2007, 2:58am »
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If a bloody Yank is permitted to respond....
 
All forms of transport are (or were) subsidized. Doing so in the U.S. is one of the legitimate constitutional functions of the federal government. In addition to infrastructure, airlines receive lucrative mail contracts; a Southwest Airlines employee once told me that their business model is to break even on mail and air freight; the passengers are gravy. And don't even get me started on the billions that highway and roadway users receive, only a portion of which is covered by gasoline taxes.
 
Fact: There are people who, because of physical or financial limitations, are unable to own and/or operate an automobile. There are also a great many people who for reasons rational or irrational do not or cannot travel by air. Presently, the people who fall into those categories in the US and Canada are, if I may use the vernacular, royally screwed. Maintaining an adequate passenger rail network, including intercity long distance trains, should be seen as a legitimate responsibility of all the governments in North America. Kudos to Canada for recognizing this—and brickbats to the US Congress for ignoring it.


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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #4 on: Oct 19th, 2007, 6:32pm »
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Nothing surprising about individual pilots liking trains. I know one in the Fort Worth area who had a heck of a model railroad layout, a fair collection of railroadiana, and took train rides when opportunity arose. But - INSTITUTUTIONALLY, airlines, airline company associations and airline employee unions will NOT be favorably inclined to competing ( or potentially competing) modes of travel.  Like rail. Especially high speed rail. Look into Southwest Airlines and the Texas Triangle High Speed Rail project.

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missthealcos
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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #5 on: Oct 22nd, 2007, 11:29pm »
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I was sitting in the Dome of Kokanee Park around Rivers, Manitoba when I heard of this money having been FINALLY secured...It's about time!!! we who are very thankful to have what we have in the form of Via are VERY glad to see this happening!
 
Having spent quite a bit of time on Via in the last 2 weeks, all I can say is they do a heck of a job with what they have, and it will be great to see what can be done now....speaking as a person who has been ticked off (I shed a tear that day!) since January 14, 1990, All I can say is this is a breath of fresh air!.....there will always be detractors to EVERYTHING( the bus companies in eastern Canada will be next, and I'm sure that Rocky Mountaineer is on red alert to fire up the Via rail hate mongering propoganda machine!!...the phones to their MP buddies in Ottawa who have been the biggest voices against this for years must be ringing off the hook!...man, I bet Jim Gouk is livid!), all we can hope for is occasionally some good news comes down the pike.
 
And if I may place another plug for Via, once again, the service on The Canadian is absolutley stellar, Name one other time in this day and age that the customer feels compelled to shake the hand of every crew member(particularly the Dining car crews), and actually WANTS to tip!. Well done Via!


« Last Edit: Oct 22nd, 2007, 11:33pm by missthealcos » Logged
Spenda
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Re: Air Line Pilots Association protests VIA Rail money
 
« Reply #6 on: Oct 24th, 2007, 8:45am »
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Missthealcos,
 
I couldn't agree more.  My recent Via experience very much left me with the impression that they do an incredible job with the funds they have.  Everything ran on time.  The staff were friendly and professional.  I appreciated the way they treated me like a customer, not some long lost buddy.  The seats were comfortable on the trains and the price was competetive.  Via must be doing the right thing because the train was sold out completely!
 
I have a few questions about capacity on Via's network, but I'll start a new thread so I'm not guilty of thread warping.
 


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