The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) has found that 100 American Airlines’ flight attendants have tested positive for COVID-19, highlighting the need for protective gear, and the airline has agreed to begin providing masks to flight attendants who want them.
According to the APFA, the union has been asking for protective gear since January.
“We have consistently advocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of our flight attendants to be available on every aircraft, for social distancing between passengers and crew jump seats, for thermal scanning in the airports, and to receive immediate notification of flight attendants who have tested positive for the virus,” Hedrick told CNN. “Flight attendants are aviation’s first responders, who are transporting medical personnel and supplies into COVID-19 hotspots, and they need to be treated and protected as such.”
The airline responded that they are taking safety precautions and following guidelines.
“The safety of our customers and team members is our top priority,” said a statement from American Airlines. “We are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials and are coordinating with them on any required health and safety-related measures. We continue to look at all ways we can care— and protect—our team during this stressful time.”
While the PPE will help frontline personnel, many will not be flying. The union noted that just one in four flight attendants will be flying in the coming months due to the impact on airlines from the coronavirus outbreak.
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