CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Airline safety, in the midst of a pandemic, has become the focal point of a give and take between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the president of the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA).
Captain Joe DePete, ALPA president, believes that the safety protocols handed down from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to the FAA, regarding airplane safety protocols, must be presented to air carriers as more than simple guidelines.
DePete wants an FAA mandate to air carriers, he says, for the safety of his pilots, crew and passengers.
“There are carriers that are doing a good job and there are carriers that are doing not such a great job,” DePete said, “So there is this varying patchwork of compliance or lack thereof and that’s no way to handle a pandemic.”
DePete represents over 63,000 pilots, 300 of whom have contracted Covid-19, and of those 3 have died.
A mandate from the FAA regarding safety protocols would not only contribute to keeping pilots and crew safe, he believes, it would go a long way to improving the confidence of air travelers.
“What’s frustrating to me right now is that because of the FAA’s inaction they are, in fact, unnecessarily exposing us to additional risk,” DePete said.
The FAA released a letter to 19 News, written to Captain DePete, in response to his concerns, which read in part:
“The FAA will reinforce the importance of airlines heeding CDC guidance and clarify those expectations if needed. We also will determine if additional actions are necessary or feasible to motivate compliance.”
DePete went on to say that a safe and secure airline industry will play a major role into whatever improvement we see, short term and long term, of the economy.
“The future will be bright we just need to do what we can now in the interim, and there is an intelligent way to do that and non intelligent way to do that,” DePete said.
The FAA went on to state in their letter to Depete that they are already currently working with the CDC on a third update of guidance to air carriers.
To read DePete’s full letter, click here.