Republicans demand contingency plan for air traffic controllers when vaccine mandate takes effect

FIRST ON FOX: Two House Republicans demand that the Biden administration provide a contingency plan to assure them the next vaccine term will not affect the air to travel this holiday season.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee member Sam Graves, R-Mo., And Representative Garret Graves, R-La., Sent letters to Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator Stephen Dickson demanding the plan as the country prepares for winter recess.

Members of Congress Graves wrote that agencies were to submit a plan showing the vaccine’s mandate would not interfere with air travel during the holidays given the “central role” they play in facilitating air travel , in particular air traffic controllers and airport security guards.

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“Many airline employees, including airline pilots, are considering retiring or resigning during tenure, while some have even taken legal action,” members of Congress wrote in the letter to Dickson. obtained exclusively by Fox Business. “Recent large-scale airline operational disruptions have demonstrated that our aviation system operates with very little slack, meaning that even minor issues of labor shortages or equipment availability and crew can quickly get out of hand. “

“We are very concerned that even a small number of FAA and airline layoffs due to the vaccination mandate will not stretch our fragile air system to the breaking point during the traditionally busy travel season.” , they continued.

President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 relief program in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday, March 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP / AP Images)

Further, they pointed out in their letter to Pekoske that 40% of TSA screening officers are not fully vaccinated by the administration’s Nov. 8 deadline and warned that “vaccination warrants combined with a shortage pre-existing workers and early return demands for air travel during the holidays worsen and create the perfect storm. “

Members of Congress recounted in their letter to the FAA chief that the agency mentioned their “contingency plan in place to prevent the COVID-19 vaccine mandate from causing disruption” in the agency’s role. air traffic control and asked the agency to produce the plan.

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“We urge you to do all in your power to ensure that air travelers do not suffer from operational disruptions, missed flights or canceled trips due to a shortage of fully vaccinated FAA air traffic controllers,” they said. concluded their letter to Dickson.

The letters arrive as the deadline for the president’s vaccination mandate came on Monday, demanding that federal workers and some federal government contractors – such as airlines – be vaccinated against COVID-19.

A TSA spokesperson told Fox Business in an email Monday that federal agencies, “including the TSA, are focusing on vaccinating their staff before the Nov. 22 deadline for federal employees.” .

“Like other federal agencies, we continue to collect vaccination information from employees as the deadline approaches,” the spokesperson continued.

The FAA did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.


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