COVID-19 cases surge at American Airlines ramps in Phoenix

PHOENIX – At least 70 American Airlines ground crew workers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 27, including four that required hospitalization, according to union officials. The numbers are expected to climb as individuals from the 1,000-member “below the wing” crews continue getting tested. 

The first case at Sky Harbor was reported to the airline on April 8; within 10 days, that number was up to 20, according to Donald Carbonneau, president of Sky Harbor Lodge 2559, the local chapter of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM) union that represents portions of American Airlines’ fleet services employees and other airlines at Sky Harbor. 

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at Sky Harbor airport are unknown.

AZCIR interviewed nearly a dozen American Airlines employees and union representatives, obtained internal company memos and emails, and reviewed hundreds of posts and comments on a private employee Facebook page detailing concerns among employees about the airline’s response to COVID-19 at Sky Harbor. Employees other than those representing their colleagues in unions declined to be identified because it violated company policy and they feared retribution for discussing company business.

Read more at Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting