US pilots file law suit to halt AA China Coronavirus flights

Source Thelma Etim via 

THE Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents 15,000 professional pilots who fly for American Airlines, has filed a law suit with the Dallas County District Court in Texas, to gain a temporary restraining order to immediately halt the American carrier’s US-China services, writes Thelma Etim. American Airlines, which currently operates approximately 56 monthly flights between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and airports in China, has announced it will suspend flights between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and The People’s Republic but not until 9 February 2020. APA’s law suit asserts: “Due to the risks associated with potential exposure to the Coronavirus for people travelling to and from China, plaintiff, on behalf of its members, brings the instant action for negligent exposure to a communicable disease.” Each American Airlines crew member working a trip to China is required to be on the ground for approximately 32 hours between flights to comply with federal rest regulations, an official statement from APA points out. In its filing, the association also cites warnings issued by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organisations discouraging all “non-essential” travel to China. The news comes after 16 airlines, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, Air Seoul, Virgin Atlantic and SAS suspended all their flights to China. “The safety and well-being of our crews and passengers must always be our highest priority – first, last, and always,” insists Captain Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association. Almost 10,000 people have been infected with the new Coronavirus, which emerged in China last December. “Numerous other major carriers that serve China, including British Airways, Air Canada and Lufthansa, have chosen to suspend service to that country out of an abundance of caution. The APA leadership has asked American Airlines management to follow suit, but to date they have not cancelled any US-China flights. We are therefore compelled to seek injunctive relief. US pilots file law suit to halt AA China Coronavirus flights Captain Eric Ferguson, president of the Allied Pilots Association The APA estimates that as many as 300 passengers and crew travel to DFW alone from Chinese cities on each American Airlines flight. “To us, that level of risk is unacceptable. Due to the known and unknown risks associated with travelling to China right now, concurrent with the filing of our lawsuit, we are directing all American Airlines pilots assigned to flights between the United States and China, other than those on return trips to the United States, to decline the assignment,” Ferguson adds. Breaking news LUFTHANSA Cargo has just revealed that its freighter flights to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKG) will continue to operate as scheduled, although the shipment of live animals will be discontinued for now. Lufthansa Cargo‘s freighter aircraft from and to the Chinese mainland will, from now on, operate exclusively according to a special flight schedule (all times Coordinated Universal Time/UTC), says an official statement from the airline. Further connections are under review and are expected to be published on 4 February 2020, it adds. “Freighter flights to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and all other worldwide destinations will continue to operate as scheduled. Until further notice, live animals (AVI) will no longer be accepted for carriage on routes to and from China (mainland),” the statement reveals. 

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