Pilots call on federal government to step up regulations for airline industry

Pilots across the United States are calling on the federal government to step up regulations and enforcement in the airline industry during the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

May 8, 2020, 12:33 AM

Updated 1,441 days ago

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Pilots across the United States are calling on the federal government to step up regulations and enforcement in the airline industry during the pandemic.
“The FAA is our regulator and they have chosen to make [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines recommended, not mandatory,” says Capt. Joe DePete – president of the Airline Pilots Association International.
DePete says that making the guidelines a suggestion is a mistake and is putting pilots, crews and passengers at risk.
“What we’ve seen happen is that there’s some carriers doing a better job than others. There’s a varying patchwork…of varying levels of compliance. And as you know in dealing with a pandemic, that makes absolutely no sense,” DePete says.
Airline Pilots Association International represents 63,000 members. The union is now calling on Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to require all airlines to adopt standard CDC-recommended safety protocols, including cleaning and sanitizing aircrafts, providing PPE and notifying crews of positive cases of the virus.
“We say the pilots are the final arbiters about whether to take a plane in the sky and we do that regardless of circumstances,” DePete says. “We do that on a regular, daily basis whether there is a pandemic or not.”
DePete says that before the pandemic pilots have refused flights due to safety concerns. He says that they should not have to do this because of COVID-19-related concerns.
“I, as the president of the union, find it difficult. I’m sending them into battle without all the tools and really, the FAA could definitely – should do its job. We’re doing ours. We shouldn’t have to do theirs as well," he says.
The union reports more than 300 members have tested positive for the virus – three have died.
When asked about the pilots’ demands, Sen. Bob Menendez said in a statement, "I have consistently called on the Administration to take steps to protect our frontline workers and ensure that PPE is available to all those who need it.”
The statement continued, “Safety protocols are critical to protect both passengers and workers, and I will continue to push for additional steps as needed."


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