Flight attendants hand out refreshments to a crowded Delta Airlines flight traveling from Ronald Regan National Airport to Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport Friday, May 21, 2021.
Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
A trade group representing major US airlines has urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halve the recommended quarantine time for people with breakthrough cases of Covid-19, warning that the current 10 days could lead to shortages of labor and flight disruptions.
“As with health, police, fire and public transport personnel, the surge of Omicron could
exacerbate staffing shortages and create significant disruption to our workforce and operations,” Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio wrote in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Thursday.
The letter, which echoes what Delta Air Lines wrote to Walensky on Tuesday, shows the airline industry’s growing concern about the impact of the guidelines as cases of Covid, particularly of the omicron variant, rise. in all the countries.
Airlines for America represents American, United, Delta, Southwest, FedEx, UPS and others.
The CDC did not immediately comment.
Not everyone in the industry agrees with the push. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the nation’s largest union for flight attendants, wrote to Walensky on Thursday advocating for the current recommendations.
“Staffing flights with crew members who may still be symptomatic, infectious or both by shortening them on the necessary isolation time will only worsen this situation,” Nelson wrote. She said while the majority of flight attendants are vaccinated, some may not have received a booster.
“Flight attendants should not be expected to return to work until they test negative and show no symptoms,” Nelson continued. “We don’t know if 10 days is that ‘magic number’, but we don’t see the rationale for reducing the number of days at this time.”