United Airlines will 'extract' sick, or possibly sick crew members from aboard using passenger-less planes

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United Airlines will use a passenger-less plane to safely "extract" any pilot or crew member from abroad who is or may be infected with the coronavirus back to the United States.

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Earlier this month, employees received a memo titled “International extraction procedure – COVID affected crew member" that outlined how United will safely extract crew from a foreign country to help them avoid quarantines or treatments unless necessary, according to an internal United employee memo obtained by Skift.

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UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.44.05-0.69-1.53%

A United Airlines pilot wears a face mask as he walks to a gate at George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Sunday, May 24, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

In the past, Air Lines Pilots Association, the largest airline pilot union in the world, expressed concern over the risks that pilots and crew members face when being forced to quarantine in foreign countries.

In July, the FedEx Express unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) called on their company to suspend operations in Hong Kong after COVID-19 positive asymptomatic FedEx pilots were "forced into mandated hospital facilities."

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Several other pilots who tested negative for COVID-19, but who had been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, were also placed "into government camps under extremely difficult conditions," ALPA said.

"Not only do these situations pose unacceptable risks to our pilots’ safety and wellbeing, but they also create added stress and distraction for flight operations," Capt. Dave Chase, FedEx ALPA master executive council chairman said.

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United confirmed to FOX Business that the airline has plans in place if a crew member would need to be flown back to the U.S. from abroad but declined to share any details.

"The health and safety of our employees and passengers are our highest priorities," United said.

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