Ten CEOs of United States passenger and cargo airlines are calling on President Joe Biden to end the onboard mask mandate as well as pre-departure testing rules.
Airlines for America sent the letter on March 23. It was signed by CEOs of Alaska, American, Delta, FedEx Express, Southwest, United, UPS Airlines and more.
The letter states that U.S. airlines supported and cooperated with the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID throughout the crisis.
The industry “leaned into science at every turn,” it states. There were voluntary policies put in place such as mask mandates, passenger health acknowledgments and contact tracing information, enhanced cleaning protocols, etc. all done by the airlines.
“However, much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context,” the letter states. “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 pre-departure testing requirement and the federal mask mandate — that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”
The letter says science “clearly supports” lifting the mask mandate as recently released CDC framework indicates 99 percent of the U.S. population no longer needs to wear a mask indoors.
“It is critical to recognize that the burden of enforcing both the mask and pre-departure testing requirements has fallen on our employees for two years now,” the letter reads. “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.”