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New leader of United Airlines pilot union steps down after disparaging comments come to light

Hours after CBS News reported the brand new chairman of the United Airlines chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association had apologized for derogatory comments he made, however mentioned he wouldn’t be stepping down, Captain Neil Swindells resigned from the submit that additionally gave him a seat on the airline’s board of administrators.

“There has been a significant negative response to things I posted on a pilot forum,” Swindells wrote in an e-mail to United’s greater than 14,000 pilots late Wednesday night time. “While many of these things have been taken completely out of context and publicly weaponized against me, I cannot ignore their existence and the damaging effect it has had on many of my fellow pilots. For that, I am truly sorry and apologize unreservedly.”

Swindells had posted comments in that “private pilot forum” that have been insulting in the direction of homosexual individuals, ladies, Jewish individuals and several other different ethnic teams. 

Neil Swindells
Neil Swindells. 

@UnitedPilots / Twitter


The longtime United pilot was elected to his position because the Master Chair of the United Master Executive Council of ALPA, which represents greater than 14,000 United Airlines pilots, on Monday, Dec. 19. His predecessor, Mike Hamilton, held the position for less than a year earlier than  stepping down due to a household subject. Swindells was elected by a pilots’ union government council that consists of 19 pilots.

The comments have been surfaced by different pilots earlier than the election, which Swindells narrowly gained. 

CBS News was supplied messages posted underneath Swindells’ title that have been confirmed by different United Airlines pilots. CBS News reviewed about three dozen messages in all. 

For instance, in September 2021, he seems to have responded to a submit with: “Continuing to get your gay man on today I see.” 

On Sept. 16, after an occasion the place United Airlines and Emirates Airlines introduced an alliance, Swindells wrote “And, I’m sure EMIRATES had NOTHING TO DO with the EMIRATES MALE CAPTAIN being flanked by a UNITED FEMALE FIRST OFFICER, either, right???” and known as the occasion a “DEI money shot!!!”

online post
A submit written by Neil Swindells that was shared with CBS News.

Sources inform CBS News Swindells’ comments raised considerations amongst many rank-and-file pilots regardless of his apology earlier this week.

“It became clear my position was untenable and a negative distraction” to ongoing contract negotiations, he wrote.

In the message to pilots, Swindells mentioned that the controversy over his posts “does not represent who I am as a person. … I have had a spotless record of service to the Association and the Company for over 27 years, but errors in judgment on a pilot forum may have damaged that reputation. I hope it has not.”

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