Flight crews are still testing positive for coronavirus despite the worldwide slowdown in air travel.

One hundred American Airlines flight attendants had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Saturday, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents that airline's 27,000 cabin crew employees, the group's spokesman, Paul Hartshorn Jr. confirmed to USA TODAY.

In a statement, Julie Hendrick, AFPA's new president, said the union had been pushing American as early since January to be more proactive regarding protection for front-line workers.

"We have consistently advocated for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all of our Flight Attendants to be available on every aircraft, for social distancing between passengers and crew jump seats, for thermal scanning in the airports, and to receive immediate notification of Flight Attendants who have tested positive for the virus," she said. "Flight Attendants are aviation’s first responders who are transporting medical personnel and supplies into COVID-19 hotspots, and they need to be treated and protected as such.”

On Thursday, Capt. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the union that represents American Airlines pilots, told USA TODAY that 41 of them have tested positive for COVID-19.

"Flight crews are a unique and effective (carrier) for the virus, as the only group traveling repeatedly and rapidly across the country," he said.
Therefore, he added, "It is critical that flight crews receive “first responder” status and priority for protective equipment. It is equally critical that a more robust screening program be instituted for flight crews and passengers, including priority virus testing for crewmembers.