ORLANDO, Fla. – Pilots across the country, including at Orlando International Airport, plan to protest Thursday, ahead of a busy holiday travel weekend.
The protests are planned at more than a dozen airports across the United States to call for changes in working conditions.
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Pilots said staffing shortages have led to strenuous schedules and fatigue, causing thousands of flight cancellations and delays over the summer. The situation has led to policy changes for some of the largest airlines, including offering vouchers to passengers affected by cancellations.
“We’ve been picking up and working record amounts of overtime,” one pilot said. “We’ve been working longer days and shorter nights.”
In April, union officials said Southwest Airlines pilots suffered through an epidemic of fatigue.
The demonstration at Orlando International Airport occurred at 11 a.m. at Terminal A arrivals.
“We want to make sure that we’re recognized and acknowledged,” said Capt. Javier Ramos, one of the pilots protesting. “Our message is clear: Take us into consideration as we all negotiate our next collective bargaining agreement.”
Ramos said if airlines want the best and brightest people behind the wheel, they have to give them great contracts.
“When a plane gets canceled for passengers, they don’t make it home. We don’t make it to our families as well,” he added. “We understand all the frustrations on the passengers that the cancelations... caused as we recover from the pandemic.”
Union leaders said flights won’t be affected as all the pilots that will be part of the demonstration are protesting on their day off.
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