Hawaiian Airlines Inc. says 13 of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus following an annual training course.
The employees who tested positive for COVID-19 took part in flight attendant training at the airline’s Honolulu headquarters about two weeks ago, the company said.
One infected attendant worked during a flight last week, the airline said.
All employees involved in the classes have self-isolated in accordance with protocols issued by the Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Health, the air carrier said.
The training involving about 60 employees included close interaction and that masks were optional, the company said.
The Association of Flight Attendants, the union representing Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants, said the yearly training mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration was delayed because of the pandemic, but classes resumed last month with new safety measures in place.
Following the outbreak, the union wants Hawaiian Airlines to reevaluate those measures and has asked the federal government to outline safety measures to be required for all U.S. 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,” association spokesperson Taylor Garland said.
The updated safety measures followed during the training included smaller class sizes, social distancing, glove use, and frequent cleaning, Hawaiian Airlines said.
There will be more rigorous protocols when training resumes including required face coverings, electrostatic disinfection and additional time between activities to minimize interactions, the company said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some – especially older adults and people with existing health problems – it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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