Reps Sam Graves and Garret Graves ask for details on plans for aviation system disruption due to vaccination warrants


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U.S. Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO) and Garret Graves (R-LA) are asking the Biden administration to outline its plans to deal with any disruption to the aviation system due to the vaccination warrants.

In a letter to the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, Sam Graves, the distinguished member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Garret Graves, the distinguished member of the Aviation Subcommittee of the House, said the upcoming vacation travel season could be disrupted if federal employees are not fully immunized by Nov. 22, 2021.

“We are concerned that the vaccination mandates combined with a pre-existing worker shortage and the early return of demands for air travel during the holidays will worsen and create a perfect storm,” wrote members of Congress.

On October 1, the Office of Personnel Management issued guidelines requiring federal employees to present proof of vaccination or be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. In order to meet this requirement, members of Congress said, employees should have completed their immunization doses by Nov. 8, with federal agencies able to begin enforcement on Nov. 9.

“Many airline employees, including airline pilots, are considering retiring or resigning during tenure, while some have even taken legal action,” the representatives wrote to the FAA. “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 deeply 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 point of breaking down during the traditionally busy travel season. “


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