American Airlines is beefing up security measures ahead of Inauguration Day, increasing staffing in Washington, D.C., and relocating crews to hotels closer to airports.
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The airline said it would suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages on flights to and from D.C.-area airports, including Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), and Dulles International Airport (IAD) from Jan. 16 to Jan. 21.
Crew members will be relocated to hotels outside of the downtown locations they usually frequent and be provided with private transportation to and from their hotels and the airport from now through Jan. 24.
In addition, the airline said it’s revising pre-departure announcements to further emphasize the importance of following crew member instructions and complying with mandatory face-covering policies.
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“We are continuing to work closely with local and federal law enforcement, as well as our airport partners, and will continue to enforce policies that ensure safety and wellbeing of our customers and team members on the ground and in the air,” the airline said in a statement.
The move comes as multiple law enforcement agencies remain on heightened alert for acts of violence following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The FBI has warned that armed rioters are planning to attack the city prior to President-elect Joe Biden being sworn in, while National Guard troops remain on the lookout for potential explosives and IEDs throughout the city.
American Airlines isn’t the only carrier making adjustments to its protocols. Delta said it would ban checked firearms aboard flights unless the passenger is a law enforcement official, CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC Thursday.
Delta has put 880 people on its no-fly list for not complying with mask mandates, while others have been banned after they were linked to riots at the Capitol, a spokesperson told Reuters.
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U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson told the news outlet that disruptive passengers could face fines of up to $35,000 and possible jail time for not complying with airline officials, signaling a “zero-tolerance policy” for violence.