US Federal Aviation Administration Director Steve Dickson said on Tuesday that as society returns to normality, airline safety measures will have to be more proactive about the industry’s ability to facilitate the spread of pathogens like COVID-19.
“All these changes are creating a whole new set of stressors that can inject new safety risks into the system,” Dickson said at a Tuesday town hall on commercial aviation safety, “and we absolutely cannot afford to be complacent about that.”
Dickson’s words echo an earlier warning in December 2020, when he opined that the aviation system in place before March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, “is really not there anymore in the same way.”
After airline travel declined to a trickle in early 2020, airlines began slashing jobs and thousands opted to take severance and early retirement packages, including 17,000 employees and 2,000 pilots at Delta Airlines.
More recently, a Boeing 777 saw its engine nearly fall apart shortly after takeoff on Saturday, catching fire in a harrowing flight that fortunately landed safety in Colorado. The FAA has ordered new inspections of 777s, and Boeing has recommended the aircraft using the engine type in question be grounded.
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