Chris Lange, FISM News
The CEOs of 10 major U.S. airlines are calling on the Biden administration to drop federal transportation mask mandates and pre-flight testing requirements for international departures.
The request was made in an open letter to the president published by Travel industry group Airlines for America (A4A).
“Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions,” they wrote, adding that restrictions are “no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”
The missive was signed by A4A as well as the CEOs of Alaska Air Group, American Airlines, Atlas Air Worldwide, Aviation FedEx Express, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and UPS Airlines.
The airlines said that, throughout the COVID-19 global health crisis, they have consistently “supported and cooperated” with the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of the virus but said that “it is past time to eliminate COVID-era transportation policies.” The group cited “encouraging” health data and the lifting of mandates “from coast to coast.”
“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,'” the letter continued, quoting directly from the President’s March 2 State of the Union address.
The airlines went on to point out that their employees have been unfairly saddled with the burden of enforcing the health requirements for two years.
“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,” they wrote.
Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended the mask requirement for the public transportation sector through April 18. The decision comes at a time when all 50 states have either ended indoor mask mandates or announced plans to phase them out.