American Airlines' pilots file lawsuit to seek immediate halt of flights to China while airlines adopt measures to prevent coronavirus spread

Author: Reuters, Published on: 4 February 2020

“Pilots, flight attendants demand flights to China stop as virus fear mounts worldwide”, 31 January 2020

Pilots and flight attendants are demanding airlines stop flights to China as health officials declare a global emergency over the rapidly spreading coronavirus, with American Airlines’ pilots filing a lawsuit seeking an immediate halt.

… the virus has spread to 18 countries, mostly, presumably, by airline passengers…

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, cited “serious, and in many ways still unknown, health threats posed by the coronavirus” in a lawsuit filed in Texas, where the airline is based.

American said it was taking precautions against the virus but had no immediate comment on the lawsuit…

APA President Eric Ferguson urged pilots assigned to U.S.-China flights to decline the assignment. In a statement, the American Airlines’ flight attendants union said they supported the pilots’ lawsuit and called on the company and the U.S. government to “err on the side of caution and halt all flights to and from China.”

Pilots at United Airlines, the largest U.S. airline to China, concerned for their safety will be allowed to drop their trip without pay, according to a… memo from their union to members…

Thai Airways is hosing its cabins with disinfectant spray between China flights and allowing crew to wear masks and gloves.

Delta Air Lines is operating fewer flights and offering food deliveries so crew can stay in their hotels. The carrier is also allowing pilots to drop China trips without pay, a memo from its union to members said.

Korean Air Lines Co Ltd and Singapore Airlines are sending additional crew to fly each plane straight back, avoiding overnight stays.

The South Korean carrier also said it was loading protective suits for flight attendants who might need to take care of suspected coronavirus cases in the air…

Air France, which maintained China flights throughout the SARS epidemic, suspended its Beijing and Shanghai flights… after cabin crews demanded an immediate halt.

“When the staff see that other airlines have stopped flying there, their reaction is ‘Why are we still going?’,” said Flore Arrighi, president of UNAC, one of the airline’s four main flight attendants’ unions.

[Also referred to including Air France KLM SA, British Airways, Germany’s Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic., Avolon Holdings Ltd]

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Related companies: Air France KLM American Airlines British Airways Delta Air Lines Korean Air (part of Hanjin Group) Lufthansa Thai Airways International United Airlines (part of United Continental) Virgin Atlantic (joint venture Virgin Group & Singapore Airlines)