Local News

Local flight school CEO threatens employees in internal email

Blue Line Aviation plans to stay open after the statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect as an essential business, but the company's CEO has received blowback after a company-wide email surfaced.

Posted Updated

Sloane Heffernan
, WRAL anchor/reporter
MORRISVILLE, N.C.EDITOR'S NOTE: Since publishing this story, WRAL received information from Blue Line Aviation that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency included flight instructors as essential critical infrastructure workers.

Despite statewide and county stay-at-home orders in effect, Blue Line Aviation, which operates a flight school right beside the air traffic control tower at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, continues to operate during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to an internal email obtained by WRAL News, any employee who complains about it could be fired.

In the email, Chief Executive Trey Walters tells employees that he has learned about complaints made to RDU about operating during the pandemic.

"There is no situation where we will close and pay anybody while we are closed," Walters wrote.

Walters went on to write that, if an employee who complained came forward, he would accept his or her resignation and would write a letter of recommendation for their next job.

"If I find out the harder way, you will be terminated," the email continued.

Walters also offered a $500 bonus to anyone with proof about an employee who complained.

A former police officer, Walters referenced his connection to law enforcement and claimed that there is no such thing as an anonymous complaint.

Blue Line employees spent the morning cleaning the planes while a WRAL crew waited for a response from the company.

Walters declined a request for an interview, but issued the following statement:

"The safety and well-being of our employees is a priority, and quite frankly, we couldn't run our business without them."

He said the business remains open as an "essential business" allowed to operate under the stay-at-home orders, saying the company is filling a role of training pilots in an industry that is already facing a shortage.


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