In An ‘Astonishing’ Letter, Delta & United Airlines Pilots Told President Trump To “Stop And Think” As Pilots Voiced Their ‘Serious Concern” About The Government Shutdown
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Delta and United Airlines Pilots - and those of JetBlue and many other airlines - have had enough.
In a scorchingly fact-based letter to Republican President Donald Trump, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) - which represents 61,000 Pilots - used simple words.
Its president, Captain Joe DePete wrote: I am writing to urge you to take the necessary steps to immediately end the shutdown of government agencies that is adversely affecting the safety, security and efficiency of our National Airspace System.
DePete explained the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security operate as both regulators and service providers. Mechanical inspections, drone oversight and new enhanced communications systems are all threatened. Worse, Air Traffic Controllers, Airspace System Maintenance Personnel and Air Marshals are working unpaid.
Moreover, CNN now reports that hundreds of TSA Screeners are calling in sick.
Could the fact that they're not being paid have an influence?
This, too, says DePete, could jeopardize safety: The pressure these Civil Servants are facing at home should not be ignored. At some point, these dedicated Federal Employees will encounter personal financial damages that will take a long time from which to recover, if at all.
By writing directly to the president - and merely copying Congressional Leaders - the Pilots appear to be holding him responsible for the potential dangers flowing from the shutdown.
It's a remarkably forthright approach, one that might make some uncomfortable, given that it has inevitable political overtones.
By saying that only the President can and should take the necessary steps, the Pilots seem to recognize that, whatever the merits (or demerits) of a wall, it isn't worth risking airline safety for what some believe is a symbol of power rather than an effective security measure.
The letter contains no words about Trump’s reasons for the shutdown.
It contains no expressions of understanding that a wall is important.
Instead, it feels like Please Stop This Nonsense Now.
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