Release #: 20.09
May 06, 2020

Airlines Failing to Comply with Public Health Guidelines

ALPA Renews Call for Mandatory Compliance

McLEAN, Va.—The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today released a report detailing airlines’ lack of compliance with federal public health guidelines, as U.S. senators prepare to hear testimony on the state of the aviation industry and more pilots test positive for COVID-19.

The report contains deidentified first-hand accounts from ALPA pilots flying at 17 different airlines—all indicating why it is necessary for Congress to mandate that airlines follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommendations (outlined in Safety Alert for Operators 20009) for COVID-19 health monitoring, employee exposure notification, and workplace cleaning and disinfection.

“Each day we are getting reports that airlines are still not doing the right thing—and what is required to keep flight crews and passengers healthy and safe during this pandemic,” said Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA president. “These reports of noncompliance make clear that Congress must act, not just to protect pilots and passengers, but also to restore confidence in airline travel. The first step to ensuring an economic turnaround is to have uniform, mandatory public health guidelines.”

Nearly 300 ALPA pilots have now tested positive for COVID-19, and for weeks our members have been calling on the FAA to mandate that airlines comply with CDC and FAA guidelines related to aircraft and flight deck cleaning and disinfection, personal protective equipment for flight crews, and employee notification of test-positive cases in the workplace. In addition, ALPA has also asked Congress to specifically direct that the FAA:

  • Require the use of facial masks for all airline passengers and crews.
  • Ensure airlines provide pilots with personal protective equipment while on the flight deck.
  • Clarify that airline pilots, as essential workers, should have access to priority COVID-19 testing.

In a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation this week, Capt. DePete emphasized the importance that these protections will have as we look to the future of air travel: “We are mindful of the need to ensure the safety of all those who utilize and rely on our air transportation network, which is why we support a requirement that all workers and passengers wear face masks in the aviation environment. We believe a holistic approach that ensures clean crews, clean aircraft, and clean airports will help instill public confidence and a safe return to flying.”

ALPA remains committed to working as equal partners with Congress, regulators, and airlines to navigate through these turbulent times. This extensive collaboration ensures the strongest opportunity for success on behalf passengers, shippers, and all who benefit from the U.S. air transportation system now—and in the future.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 63,000 pilots at 34 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at alpa.org or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.

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CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or Media@alpa.org