UPDATE: A total of 13 Hawaiian Airlines employees who attended flight attendant training at the Honolulu headquarters have tested positive for COVID-19.
According to Hawaiian Airlines, all employees involved in those classes have been self-monitoring their health, in accordance with CDC/DOH protocols.
Dozens of Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants are now under quarantine after eight of them tested positive for COVID-19. The company says it happened during a training class and one of the infected flight attendants worked during a flight last week.
The union representing Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants says training was put off for a while because of the pandemic. Classes resumed last month with new safety measures in place. With this new outbreak, the union now wants the company to re-evaluate those measures.
“We’ve asked the airlines to immediately review the safety measures that were instituted as a result of COVID-19 for the training and to determine how this happened, so this doesn’t happen going forward,” said Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for The Association of Flight Attendants.
Hawaiian Airlines says eight flight attendants tested positive this week after feeling ill. They had gone to a training class last week, and one of them flew a flight last week before showing symptoms.
The company says new safety measures were followed during that training, like smaller class sizes, social distancing, the use of gloves, and frequent cleaning. The union says annual training is required by the FAA for all flight attendants.
“That can be anything between CPR, making sure you know how to lock the doors, things like that, evacuate in a water landing. All those types of things are done at recurrent training. It’s a refresher for flight attendants,” said Garland.
Hawaiian says all instructors have been tested and about 60 workers who have been through the training program in the past week have been asked to self-quarantine. Once they resume training, there will be more rigorous protocols, such as a face covering requirement, electrostatic disinfection, and additional time between hands-on activities to minimize close interactions.
The company is also working with public health agencies to notify those they deem necessary.
The union is asking the federal government to step in and put together safety measures that will be required for all US airlines.
“We need to make sure that every airline is instituting effective COVID-19 safety measures, and that we get COVID-19 safety measures instituted from the federal government in order to ensure one level of safety across the aviation system,” said Garland.
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