Friday, January 22, 2021
Federal Mask Requirement on Airplanes
President Biden issued several executive orders in his first two days in office, including an order yesterday that requires that masks be worn on airplanes and in airports. While our airline already has this policy in place, the federal mandate provides necessary back-up for Flight Attendants who encounter passengers refusing to comply. Public transportation is a shared space, and we welcome this executive order, which is, frankly, overdue.
“APFA has raised the importance of required masks on our airplanes and airports since the onset of the pandemic. Despite our calls for federal action, our previous Secretary of Transportation did not establish uniform federal guidelines to protect crew members and passengers. Aviation Unions contributed to pressuring our airlines to establish individual policies; however, we continue to believe a consistent federal mandate best serves the traveling public across the industry. As passengers travel on different airlines and through various airports, they deserve to have clear expectations of the rules. We thank President Biden for seeing to this immediately.”
-Julie Hedrick, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing 24,000+ Flight Attendants at American Airlines
Pete Buttigieg Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Transportation
Yesterday, the Senate Commerce Committee held the nomination hearing for Pete Buttigieg to lead the U.S. Department of Transportation. Committee members all had the opportunity to ask the Secretary-designate questions about transportation and infrastructure priorities in the Biden Administration. Mr. Buttigieg made firm commitments to transportation safety, and specifically the aviation industry. He also spoke to infrastructure improvements that must be made at our airports and the importance of essential air service to communities across our country.
We look forward to Mr. Buttigieg’s confirmation and to working with him to address many issues of importance to Flight Attendants, including implementing the 10-hour minimum rest rule that was passed by Congress over two years ago. APFA also appreciates Mr. Buttigieg’s commitment to ensuring that airplane seat size and pitch comply with emergency evacuation standards.
Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act
APFA applauds the reintroduction of the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act today by Senator Markey, Senator Blumenthal, and Congressman Lynch. The bill would establish a national task force to coordinate between aviation stakeholders (including labor) to combat COVID-19 and be better prepared for any future pandemic.
“It has been almost a year since the COVID-19 crisis brought our nation’s airlines to a near standstill. Is the aviation industry better prepared for a future pandemic than we were a year ago? We can be and should be. This is why APFA supports the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act introduced today by Senator Markey, Senator Blumenthal, and Congressman Lynch. The bill establishes a national task force for coordination between all relevant agencies and aviation stakeholders. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we must have policy in place to maintain a safe environment on board our aircraft and contain any future pandemics from the onset.”
-Julie Hedrick, National President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing 24,000+ Flight Attendants at American Airlines.
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