U.S. airline industry steps up push for CDC to cut quarantine time for breakthrough Covid cases, warning of labor shortages

Flight attendants hand out refreshments to a packed Delta Airlines flight touring from Ronald Regan National Airport to MinneapolisSaint Paul International Airport on Friday, May 21, 2021.

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

A commerce group representing main U.S. airways urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halve its beneficial quarantine time for people with breakthrough circumstances of Covid-19, warning the present 10 days may lead to labor shortages and flight disruptions.

“As with healthcare, police, fire and public transportation workforces, the Omicron surge may
exacerbate personnel shortages and create significant disruptions 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, reveals the airline industry’s growing concern concerning the affect of the rules as Covid circumstances, notably of the omicron variant, enhance across the nation.

Airlines for America represents American, United, Delta, Southwest, FedEx, UPS and others.

The CDC did not instantly remark.

Not everybody within the industry agrees with the push. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, the nation’s largest flight attendant union, wrote to Walensky on Thursday arguing in favor of the current recommendations.

“Staffing flights with crewmembers who may still be symptomatic, infectious, or both by shortening them on necessary isolation time will only make this situation worse,” Nelson wrote. She stated whereas the bulk of flight attendants are vaccinated, some may not have obtained booster pictures.

“Flight Attendants should not be expected to return to work until they test negative and do not exhibit symptoms,” Nelson continued. “We do not know if 10 days represents that ‘magic number,’ but we do not see the justification for reducing the number of days at this time.”

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