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AFA-CWA Opposed to FAA Decision to Allow Airline To Circumvent Regulations

Date: July 12, 2007

Washington, DCThe Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) is considering filing a formal appeal with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over a recent ruling which reduces the required number of flight attendants onboard an aircraft during the boarding of passengers at an intermediate stop. Late last week, the FAA granted Southwest Airlines permission to circumvent long standing federal aviation regulations by substituting a pilot for a flight attendant in between flights. The ruling allows a pilot to handle flight attendant duties while the aircraft is parked so the flight attendant can take on additional responsibilities in the boarding area.

"Flight attendants serve a critical role during the boarding and deplaning process and that role should not be compromised," said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. "Not only are we essential in the event of an emergency evacuation, but we also help to protect security inside the aircraft by assessing each passenger for unusual or suspicious behavior."

The ruling exempts Southwest Airlines from complying with important federal regulations that govern flight attendant crew complements based on the weight and seating capacity of an aircraft. These regulations also provide specific circumstances when minimum crew requirements can be reduced in between flights while the plane in on the ground.

"The FAA should have protected this regulation, but instead they caved to industry pressure.  As a result, management at other airlines has already signaled their intent to file for similar exemptions.  Airline executives will use this exemption ruling to layer more and more duties and responsibilities on the backs of flight attendants which will dilute our critical safety and security roles," said Friend.

Southwest Airlines flight attendants are represented by the Transport Workers Union and are not affiliated with AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union.

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 55,000 flight attendants at 20 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afanet.org. 

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