A US airline flight attendants’ union says its members are afraid for their safety onboard aircraft after an angry mob of rioters breached the US Capitol building in Washington, DC earlier in the day. The mob was attempting to stop the certification of the election of Joe Biden as president of the USA.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, has condemned the “mob mentality behaviour” of passengers on flights to the nation’s capital a day earlier, saying it was “unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on-board”.
“Some of the people who travelled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today,” writes Sara Nelson, the organisation’s president. “Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area.”
The AFA statement came after thousands of supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump violently stormed the government building at the centre of the nation’s capital, forcing legislators to evacuate. Reports say that one person was shot and killed in the incident and numerous others were injured.
The riot happened a day after video emerged on social media showing Republican Senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney being heckled at an airport gate and then once again on an aircraft by angry crowds who do not agree with his decision to vote to validate Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the November presidential election.
The two chambers of the US Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, were to approve the results of election earlier today to pave the way for Biden’s inauguration on 20 January. But the sessions were cut short after rioters violently forced their way into the building and lawmakers were evacuated to an undisclosed safe location.
The US Travel Association, a group representing the tourism industry, also denounced the violence in Washington, calling this “a time of unprecedented crisis and challenge” and adding that such action is “the willful disruption of our democratic transition is an unacceptable act of harm that is felt not just in Washington, but in every corner of the country”.
US aviation regulator FAA would not comment on the flight attendants’ concerns, adding only that it ”works closely with federal law enforcement and national security partners on any reported security threats that may impact aviation safety”.
Neither pilots’ union Air Line Pilots Association, International nor the industry trade organization which represents US carriers, Airlines for America, immediately responded to requests for a statement.