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Airline CEOs Ask U.S. Government To Lift Federal Mask Mandate As It “Makes No Sense”

By Cristian Bustos. Originally published at ValueWalk.

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Representatives of some of the biggest U.S. passenger airlines asked President Joe Biden to end the mask mandate onboard planes, saying that it is no longer aligned with the current epidemiological environment.

“Makes No Sense”

According to Fox Business, airline CEOs of the likes of American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ:AAL), Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL), and JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLUE), sent Biden a letter asking for the mask mandate to be lifted, citing the protection aircraft cabins offer.


Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

“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,” they said in the document.

“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 said.

As the U.S. is trying to move on from Covid, all U.S. states have disclosed they are set to lift indoor mask mandates. However, in early March, Biden extended the mask mandate for public transportation until April 18, Fox Business reports.

Passenger Incidents

The CEOs wrote in their letter, “We are encouraged by the current data and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions from coast to coast, which indicate it is past time to eliminate Covid-era transportation policies.”

They argue that the mandate has affected airline staff, who has had to deal with frustrated —and sometimes— unruly passengers that have made headlines due to violent incidents onboard aircraft.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), these types of incidents increased in 2021 from 2020, and this year, out of a total of 961 reported, 635 had to do with masks.

In December, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) CEO Gary Kelly said that masks did little to prevent Covid infections on planes, in a statement to a Senate panel. Back then, he argued that aircraft cabins were close to the safest indoor spaces to be.

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