|Vol. 19 No. 19||
Thursday March 5, 2020
United CEO Takes COVID-19 To Heart
Yesterday, March 4, major United States airline chief executive officers met with President Donald Trump in the White House to discuss measures taken in coordination with the government to protect the flying public.
From American Airlines' Doug Parker to Southwest Airlines' Gary Kelly, the words voiced concern for everyone’s safety and the action each carrier is taking as apprehension around air travel mounts in the U.S. and around the world.
“We’ve stepped up our efforts to make sure the airplanes are clean and disinfected, and we work very closely with the CDC, and I think that’s gone very, very well,” Gary Kelly said.
“We’ve got the proper protocols in place whenever there is a suspected illness, and I think all that is working very well.
“I think everybody is doing a great job and doing all they can,” Gary Kelly said.
Brad Tilton, CEO of Alaska noted:
“I think, like all the folks around the table, the focus of the airline leadership teams is the safety of our employees and the safety of our customers.
“I think all of us have made a lot of changes to our cleaning procedures, changes to our onboard procedures—to gloves, sanitation, the service that our flight attendants are providing our customers.
“And we’re trying to do everything we can to help — help everyone contain the virus and contain the spread of it,” Brad Tilton said.
But it was United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz who captured the emotion and commitment everyone felt while speaking to President Trump.
“I’ll take a different angle, just because a lot of it has been said,” Oscar Munoz declared softly.
“I started my whole conversation here before you came in: The safety and health of our customers and our employees are the topmost. We (United Airlines) will cooperate and collaborate with everything.
“I think — as I look through this from a personal lens—I’m a heart transplant survivor.
I am, if you think of the poster child for the individual that could be affected by this, I am it.
I’m over the age and I have a compromised immune system. And so, that’s the task we take at United about making our planes safe. We’re exploring all the different ideas and aspects that we can to ensure that our planes are as safe as possible.
“From the ask perspective, anything that continues to project stability, calm, and — Dr. Birx, with regards to behavior, we’ve invented the ‘corona bump’ at United, where you’ll see us all bumping each other.”
“It may sound silly, but it’s a fun way of expressing what I think we all need to know — is be careful for the next few weeks as we control this; that we adapt our behavior so that indeed we can continue to stay safe.”
Then Oscar Munoz looked at President Trump and said:
“So thank you for everything and for having us.”
President Trump leaned back a bit and replied:
“And that’s right: You are a heart transplant survivor.”
Oscar Munoz replied: “Yes, sir.”
President Trump smiled, looked at Oscar Munoz and then around the room and said:
“I was reading about that. He’s one of the big executives, great executives of our country, of the world. And you’re a heart transplant — I tell you, you look very good to me, Oscar!” to which the room broke out in laughter.
Oscar Munoz smiled and replied:
“I don’t recommend it.”
President Trump smiled again, and said, “You have that one down! Don’t recommend it!” the President said and again in this very serious moment there was laughter.
“But you,” The President continued, “that’s a fantastic story. Wow, that’s great. Thank you very much, Oscar,” President Trump concluded.
All these important airline people met inside the Roosevelt Room at the most sacred building in the U.S. with the most powerful person in the world, and they were able to make their case indelibly because Oscar Munoz spoke from the heart. His immunity may be compromised, but his inner strength, tenacity, and sincerity surely are not.
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19 No. 16
Virus Cancels FIATA HQ Session
COVID-19 Widens China Shutdown
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JFK Cargo Expo March 25
Virgin Cargo MAN Up To DEL
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