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AFA Opposition to Kirby’s Suggestion to Reduce FAA Minimum Staffing

Date: April 2, 2020

During today’s Town Hall Meeting featuring Oscar Munoz and Scott Kirby, the leadership of the Union was shocked to hear Scott Kirby announce management was proposing what can only be viewed as a reduction to the FAA mandated minimum staffing of our aircraft.

Scott’s suggestion that it would in some way be acceptable to reduce the required number of Flight Attendants when there are only “five” passengers on the aircraft is not a subject that has ever been proposed to AFA nor have we ever been consulted about the ultimate safety ramifications of such a public suggestion. Flights should stay on the ground or be designated as cargo only if we aren’t carrying passengers. That is, in fact, the best way to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus. 

We understand that this statement is causing many of you to be concerned as you seek to get an understanding of what is being suggested by his remarks. Let’s be clear, FAA minimums were fought for and achieved long ago. They are in place for a reason and in an emergency, we need to be ready to act. AFA opposes any efforts to reduce FAA minimums. We already have reached agreement with the company for social distancing, some of which has already been implemented. What the FAA should allow is for Flight Attendants to utilize the nearest passenger seat that complies with the CDC's safe social distancing for takeoff and landing. 

Our AFA International President has been advised and we are immediately interfacing with the FAA in opposition to this initiative.

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