The CEO’s of the major airlines have had enough of America’s ridiculous and nonsensical mask mandates on planes and in airports alienating their passengers.
This week, the Airlines of America’s (A4A) Board of Directors sent a letter to the Biden White House, asking the president to “sunset federal transportation travel restrictions.”
“During the global health crisis, U.S. airlines have supported and cooperated with the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the letter reads, citing data indicating it is “past time to eliminate COVID-era transportation policies.”
“Our industry has leaned into science at every turn,” the letter, signed by several airline leaders, continued, explaining how airlines “voluntarily implemented policies and procedures — mandating face coverings; requiring passenger health acknowledgements and contact tracing information; and enhancing cleaning protocols – to form a multi-layered approach to mitigate risk and prioritize the wellbeing of passengers and employees” throughout the pandemic.
The airlines have complied with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and now they say enough is enough.
“much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context.”
The letter continues:
The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from COVID-19. Given that we have entered a different phase of dealing with this virus, we strongly support your view that “COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.” Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions – including the international predeparture testing requirement and the federal mask mandate – that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.
Several studies completed before we had the added layer of widespread availability of vaccines, including one from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and another from the U.S. Department of Defense, have concluded that an airplane cabin is one of the safest indoor environments due to the combination of highly filtered air and constant air flow coupled with the downward direction of the air. Lifting the mask mandate in airports and onboard aircraft can be done safely as England has done. Importantly, the effectiveness and availability of high-quality masks for those who wish to wear them gives passengers the ability to further protect themselves if they choose to do so.
“It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do,” the letter reads, adding that the burden of enforcing the restrictions is taking a toll on employees.
“This is not a function they are trained to perform and subjects them to daily challenges by frustrated customers. This in turn takes a toll on their own well-being,” the letter continues, concluding that the absence of restrictions will not only benefit the public but “thousands of airline employees charged with enforcing a patchwork of now-outdated regulations implemented in response to COVID-19.”
Of those who signed the letter included American Airlines Chairman and CEO W. Douglas Parker, Alaska Airlines Group CEO Ben Minicucci, Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, Atlas Air Worldwide President and CEO John W. Dietrich, Hawaiin Airlines President and CEO Peter R. Ingram, Fed Ex Express EVP and CEP Scot Struminger, JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes, Southwest Airlines Chairman Gary C. Kelly, UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan, United Airlines Holdings CEO Scott Kirby, and Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.
Will the Biden White House listen to the CEO’s of the airlines?