An Alaska Airlines MD-80 was forced to make an emergency landing Monday when a hole in the fuselage blew out at 26,000 feet.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said baggage handlers had bumped the plane’s fuselage with loading equipment and caused “a crease” in the side of the aircraft. The handlers are contract workers hired to replace unionized workers in May.
Hmmm. I suppose there can be consequences when a company cheaps out, replacing experienced, loyal, unionized employees with the lowest bidder.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, the crease blew into a 1-foot-by-6-inch hole, said Jim Struhsaker, an NTSB senior air-safety investigator.
Port of Seattle police weren’t notified about the incident until Tuesday, when operations staffers for Alaska contacted them, airport spokesman Bob Parker said. The airline asked police to fill out a “hit-and-run report” because an employee struck the aircraft with a baggage tug, he added.
Alaska saw an increase in ground-damage incidents at Sea-Tac after it replaced 472 unionized workers in May with workers from Menzies Aviation, based near London, the airline said. The switch contributed to a sharp increase in delayed departures from Sea-Tac.
I know that organized labor is a favorite Republican whipping boy, but I’m wondering whether even the righties amongst you can enjoy the same peace of mind flying Alaska, knowing that the airline’s “Always Low Prices” approach to maintenance and ground crews almost brought down yet another jetliner?
Are well-paid, well-trained union employees more expensive? It depends on how much you value human life.