JETBLUE paid tribute to coronavirus health workers on Thursday night by flying three specially-painted jumbo jets above New York City.
One plane was painted in red with the shield of the Fire Department of New York, while another was mostly blue in honor of the NYPD with the department’s flag on the tail.
The third featured JetBlue’s logo and the well-known I Love NY slogan.
The flyover took place as the reported coronavirus cases in the Big Apple continued to soar toward a staggering figure of 200,000.
While some people appreciated the tribute, others took exception, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
"Nothing like a corporate PR campaign that burns jet fuel at low altitudes over vulnerable communities dying from a respiratory virus that compounds on our preexisting and disproportionate exposure to air pollution to show healthcare workers we care," AOC tweeted Thursday.
The congresswoman suggested that the best way to thank healthcare workers is to "support PPE production, fully funding our healthcare system, produce mass testing and contact tracing, and forgive student loan debt which is especially crushing in medical fields."
Many Twitter users objected to her sour grapes, with one person telling her to "quit crying."
Wrote another user: "Maybe it’s just supposed to be a nice gesture of thanks."
However, many agreed with the criticism of the airline, with New York City Councilman Justin Brannan calling the flyover "tone deaf."
"For those of us who lost friends & loved ones on 9/11 and are still haunted by nightmares about that day, I think we're all set with the low-flying planes above NYC," he wrote.
"A donation from you to NYC first responders would've been fine."
Wrote another Twitter user: "1) Air pollution – such as the pollution emitted by jet engines – makes people more susceptible to severe Covid-19 symptoms."
"2) New Yorkers don't like low-flying planes. 3) This is stupid."
"Low flying passenger aircraft over Manhattan?" wrote someone else on Twitter.
"What on earth are you thinking?! Do not do this. This is an extremely stupid and bad thing to do."
JetBlue said in a statement to The Washington Post that "safety is our top priority at JetBlue with tonight’s flyover."
"We worked closely with the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Control to coordinate this special event.
"Both the FAA and JetBlue have approved the flight levels and altitude of these three flights, and they will be under ATC control and communication at all times.
This is happening at no cost – the fuel as well as carbon offsets have been donated.”
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