With the vacation season approaching, the 2 main U.S. airways are dealing with a attainable pilot scarcity, and it could be made worse by vaccine mandates, in line with some unions representing pilots.
Not solely are extra passengers anticipated to take to the skies this yr, however airways are rapidly approaching a federal vaccine mandate for his or her staff.
Airline staff should be vaccinated by Dec. 8, per a Biden administration regulation, and it’s even sooner for American’s staff: Nov. 24, the day earlier than Thanksgiving.
“There have been some comments from the Southwest Airlines pilot union that they may not have enough pilots available to operate the flights during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday, and American’s pilot union made a similar statement,” travel trade analyst Henry Harteveldt stated.
Capt. Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots, launched a press release saying that “American Airlines management continues to engage with APA on all things pandemic-related, including the vaccine mandate.”
The union is hoping to get an extension to the Nov. 24 deadline, in addition to “the same alternatives to the vaccine that are expected to be allowed under the anticipated OSHA emergency rule covering companies with more than 100 employees,” Ferguson stated.
“This would ensure the same level of safety while preventing the destabilization of our industry on the eve of the upcoming holiday season,” Ferguson added.
Over the weekend, vacationers have been annoyed with Southwest Airlines cancelling extra 2,000 flights, marking what could be the begin to extra cancellations and delays within the close to future for extra airways.
“For passengers on American and Southwest, you need to be prepared that you may have a chaotic Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Harteveldt stated.
Harteveldt stated Southwest and American are shifting ahead in getting extra pilots vaccinated, however the corporations have but to say simply how a lot progress they’ve made.
“You want to travel this Thanksgiving or Christmas, you can, you just need to be thoughtful about the airline you choose,” Harteveldt added.
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