The newly elected president of United Airlines’ pilots’ union has resigned after just two days in office amid controversy over derogatory posts he made on a message board for pilots.
Captain Neil Swindells was elected leader of the United Chapter of the Airline Pilots Association on Monday and tendered his resignation on Wednesday under pressure after “overwhelming” negative feedback from members after his positions were published, Forbes reports.
This week, CBS News obtained dozens of letters that Swindles sent to Pilotsforum.org. The outlet shared a number of them from September 2021, including him appearing to tell someone, “I still see your gay man today.”
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In another message, Swindells commented on the announcement of an alliance between United Airlines and Emirates Airlines, saying, “I’m sure Emirates has nothing to do with an Emirates captain flanked by a United female first officer, right? It was designed with a nod to the dominance of Emirates Airlines.” on the shared code, with United granting the required DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] coin strike.”
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|UAL||United Airlines Holdings||38.28||-0.72||-1.85%|
Swindells confirmed he made the comments and issued an apology in an email to the more than 14,000 United pilots following the CBS report, initially saying he would not step down.
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Before Swindells’ eventual resignation on Wednesday, ALPA President Captain Joe DeBett tweeted a public statement saying the union “will always stand and fight for an inclusive aviation community because bigotry has no place in our union or our profession.”
“Under our democratic structure, UnitedPilots elect their own leaders and it’s up to them to decide who they want to lead,” DeBet added.
“There was a lot of negative reaction to things I posted on an experimental forum,” Swindell wrote in his resignation letter. “While many of these things have been completely taken out of context and openly weaponized against me, I cannot ignore their existence and the devastating impact they have had on many of my fellow pilots. For that, I am truly sorry and apologize unreservedly.”
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He added, “It is time for me to get back on the line and do what I have loved to do for over 27 years, which is to fly with the best, most professional pilots in the aviation industry.”
United Airlines declined to comment on the situation or whether Swindells was still affiliated with the airline when contacted by FOX Business.
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