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AFA Confirms NRT Flight Safety with FAA

Date: March 16, 2011
Source: AFA Article

AFA remains concerned for the well being of our Members who are based in and layover in Narita.  To ensure we maintain up to date safety information we remain in near constant contact with Council 38, in contact with United Airlines multiple times per day.  

Our AFA Safety, Health and Security and EAP Committees continue their work of reaching out to our Members, United and all relevant agencies involved in the situation in Japan.  

We are thoroughly assessing information from these regulatory agencies, as well as maintaining contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Command Center in Washington, DC to insure we have the most current, complete, and objective safety information to protect our Members.

Today the FAA Command Center responded to our concerns regarding recent action taken by some European Airlines who have chosen to move operations out of Narita.  The media has created hype around these decisions; however the Director of System Operations states empathetically that these actions are not the result of any European Union safety mandate.  Rather, the decisions are likely based upon these individual airlines operational considerations, and not safety concerns, due to the airlines having suspended, consolidated or cancelled operations into Tokyo for the time being. 

Furthermore the FAA confirmed that there is no underlying rationale for them to order any special flight rules for Narita since “no threat to passengers, crew or aircraft exists”.  Efforts exist to coordinate data collection and analysis by the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for risk assessment with additional data from federal agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy (DOE).  These efforts also include the inspection of airframes, cargo and baggage on flights arriving in the U.S. from Japan. 

None of these tests have shown positive for radiation exposure from the nuclear power plan disaster in Japan.  To be absolutely sure and out of an abundance of caution and respect for our Members well being, we will deploy dosimeters to Narita to provide an additional layer of protection and detection.  These devices are small, reliable, precision instruments that are small in size and used to provide immediate and accurate measurements of radiation.  It should be noted that our layover hotels are well beyond the areas identified as being affected by the nuclear disaster.

We have also again confirmed with United, that if any objective information indicates a potential for flight safety, or the safety of Flight Attendants, they will utilize contingency plans in place including the re-routing of aircraft and evacuating of Flight Attendants and other employees, in the event of a change in the situation in Japan.  United is operating flights well clear of the government exclusion area and are monitoring weather and civil defense reports hourly.

United has confirmed with us, that they will not force anyone to take flights to Japan as a result of any concern that cannot be resolved by a Flight Attendant talking with their supervisor.  The situation in Japan is dynamic, and we are committed to maintaining the utmost vigilance to this crisis and the well-being of our Members; and actively engaged in the situation on all fronts.  Should you have questions or concerns not addressed in our daily updates to the AFA website, Dear AFA and E-Lines, please contact your Local Council.

Printed from the official United Master Executive Council website at

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