United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby addresses pilot mental health concerns amid surge in air travel

Following current scares involving pilots, and as a report variety of vacationers take to the skies, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby informed “CBS Mornings” that the corporate works to ensure pilots’ psychological well being is “in a very good place.”

Kirby mentioned United pilots endure coaching each 9 months, together with simulator classes designed to organize them for eventualities that he mentioned will hopefully by no means occur. The coaching, mixed with the airline’s insurance policies, purpose to make sure pilots are mentally and bodily match to deal with the stresses of flying.

“Now we have every kind of insurance policies in place the place folks can, whether or not it is a psychological well being or substance abuse, something that is occurring of their lives, sickness, even fatigue, that they will name off and never come to work with out penalties, with out repercussions, and so they have actually good protections to make sure that that does not occur,” mentioned Kirby.

Final month, an off-duty Alaska Airways pilot was accused of trying to shut down a plane’s engines midflight whereas catching a trip within the cockpit from Washington state to San Francisco. There have additionally been various pilots talking out about not seeking mental health treatment for worry of shedding their jobs.

In response, the Federal Aviation Administration lately introduced it’s creating a brand new committee that may study pilot psychological well being and a few challenges pilots face in reporting psychological well being points to the company.

In the meantime, the Transportation Safety Administration recorded its busiest day ever over the Thanksgiving vacation weekend, with almost 3 million passengers flying on Sunday. United Airways reported welcoming over 4-and-a-half million vacationers in the course of the vacation week, a 9% improve from final yr.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Senate panel introduced it could be investigating the rise in seat and baggage charges for 5 main airways, together with United.

Kirby mentioned that the airline has labored exhausting to cut back charges and has gotten rid of change charges. Whereas baggage charges within the airline business are up almost $2 billion within the final 4 years, Kirby mentioned United has earned extra from baggage charges due to a rise in quantity, not a rise in its charges.

“There are another airways which have, you recognize, have added numerous charges, a few of which I believe are egregious,” he mentioned.

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