Pilots Union: We Need Federal Safety Guidance During Pandemic


Chicago’s airports have seen a steep reduction in traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, but flights are still taking off and landing in the city everyday. 

Some airlines have instituted specific safety rules surrounding masks, social distancing and other precautions. 

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But the union representing American Airlines pilots says the Federal Aviation Administration needs to do more to protect passengers and crew members from the coronavirus. They’re asking for industry-wide policies so no flights or airlines fall through the cracks. 

“We called on the FAA to provide us some mandated policies. They essentially washed their hands of it, said it isn’t our job, we don’t have the authority, on and on they went,” said Dennis Tajer, an American Airlines pilot and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the pilot’s union. “On the airplane, we need definitive, mandated language for these things.” 

Noting a recently publicized American Airlines flight that was 85% full, Tajer said there also needs to be clearer guidance about social distancing measures on planes.  

“We cannot be placing people knowingly without social distancing as much as possible. We have flights going out with 10 people on it. To have flights going out with 140 [passengers], it doesn’t make sense,” Tajer said.

Tajer says his union has gone around the FAA to directly lobby elected officials for federal safety guidelines.


Covid Across Chicago

How is the novel coronavirus impacting local businesses, residents and social service agencies across the city and region? And how are local leaders handling the crisis? We hit the streets to answer those questions and more in our ongoing reporting series, COVID-19 Across Chicago. See where we’ve been and what we’ve discovered in this overview. Listed is the official Chicago community area with the neighborhood in parenthesis where appropriate.


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