PILOTS UNION FILES LAWSUIT TO SUSPEND AMERICAN AIRLINES US-CHINA SERVICE IN LIGHT OF CORONA VIRUS

BY: SUBIKSHINI.I

BACKGROUND:




The Allied Pilots Association has recently filed a lawsuit on Thursday, seeking to halt American Airlines US-China service as cabin crew’s worldwide voiced about exposure to corona virus. This lawsuit was filed on the same day that the corona virus was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). Recent events relating to the outbreak of the novel corona virus in China have created a threat to the safety of passengers and flight crew traveling from that country and worldwide. Due to the seriousness of the issue, and in many ways still unknown, health threats posed by this corona virus, and concerns regarding it has spread globally, several governmental agencies all over the world, including the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have issued alerts and warnings discouraging all the “nonessential travel” to China. In response to these alerts, many air carriers have temporarily suspended flights to China until further information can be obtained regarding the virus. Given the unique challenges presented by the situation, carries have now recognized an industry standard of care for exercising the highest precaution.

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CURRENT ISSUE:

According to the WHO report, there were about 6,000 confirmed cases of corona virus and more than 130 deaths in China alone due to this disease as of January 29, 2020. In addition, 68 other cases from various other parts of the world have also been reported. The union that represents American Airlines pilots said Thursday that it’s suing the carrier to halt service to China amid the corona virus outbreak, which has killed many people in China and around the world. This complaint which was filed in the Dallas County District Court, also stated that American Airlines’ refusal to suspend all fights to China will result in passengers’ and crews’ potential exposure to corona virus and those individuals may risk further exposing family members and other members of the Dallas Fort Worth community. Further, in their complaint, the Allied Pilots Association which represents about 15,000 pilots for the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier said its suit seeks a temporary restraining order to halt all American Airlines service between the U.S. and China. They argued that despite the warnings issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and WHO, American Airlines was acting in a negligent and ignorant manner by refusing to suspend flights to China and knowingly exposing its employees to the risk of contracting corona virus.

CONCLUSION:

American on Wednesday announced it would suspend its Beijing and Shanghai flights from Los Angeles between Feb. 9 and March 27, citing reduced demand because of the corona virus outbreak, following similar moves by dozens of airlines around the world. American Airlines further tells that it’s “aware of the filing,” and that the company is actively monitoring the corona virus situation. They informed that they are in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and global public health officials to make sure we are taking all necessary precautions for our customers and team members. It’s also important to note that there may be other motives for the union to push American Airlines right now. It’s currently fighting to negotiate a new contract with American Airlines, and it was just yesterday that hundreds of pilots held a public demonstration at DFW International Airport to express their frustration.

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