In a letter obtained by both Politico and The Dallas Morning News, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents 14,000 American Airlines pilots, wrote that mandates would force airlines to “either offer unpaid leaves of absence or, worse, implement mass terminations of unvaccinated pilots.”
The APA’s president, Eric Ferguson, wrote in the letter that the White House should find “alternate means of compliance” for professional pilots to ensure they don’t need to get vaccinated, per the reports. Ferguson wrote that some pilots worried about possible “career-ending side effects” from the vaccine, and cited stringent FAA medical tests pilots must pass in order to maintain their commercial license, according to the reports.
“All of those members are still able to perform their duties as professional pilots. To force those pilots out of their positions, rather than offering viable alternatives will have adverse consequences upon their families and the airline industry as a whole,” he wrote, as reported by the two publications.
APA president Eric Ferguson sent the letter on Friday to 15 officials across the Federal Aviation Administration, Congress, the Department of Transportation, and others, per the reports.
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) echoed the APA’s warnings about a vaccine mandate on Monday, saying it could create labor shortages and operational problems, Politico first reported. “SWAPA’s stance is that it is each pilot’s right to choose whether or not to get the vaccine,” the union said in a statement Monday [Business Insider].