On Wednesday, the CEOs of American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and other major carriers sent a letter to Joe Biden urging him to end federal mask mandates on airplanes as well as international pre-departure testing requirements. Citing scientific data, the airlines implore Biden to lift the travel restrictions on airlines so the US travel and tourism sectors no longer needlessly struggle.
In the letter, the CEOs explain that they have followed all instructions regarding Covid-19 policies thus far, but request that now their companies are able to follow the scientific evidence and data that show we are no longer in a severe state of this pandemic.
The letter reads:
“Our industry has leaned into science at every turn. At the outset, we voluntarily implemented policies and procedures… to form a multi-layered approach to mitigate the risk and prioritize the wellbeing of passengers and employees.”
It then continues to argue that the situation, and scientific recommendations, have drastically changed and it is time to start recognizing these facts:
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“However, much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context… 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.”
The CEOs are insisting in this letter that the Biden administration consider the negative impact the unnecessary federal mandates have on the US travel and tourism industries. They even quote Biden himself in saying that “Covid-19 need no longer control our lives”, pressing him to follow through on what he says.
While the US maintains all travel restrictions, the UK, EU, and Canada have all done away with the futile mandates. “The U.S. inconsistency with these practices creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. travel and tourism by placing an additional cost and burden on travel to the U.S.,” the airlines argue.
The letter asserts that 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.”
The airline CEOs even advocate for the well-being of their employees that are made to enforce these mandates on the aircraft, which has been impacting their personal wellness.
They emphasize that it is “critical to recognize that the burden of enforcing both the mask and predeparture testing requirements has fallen on our employees for two years now. 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.”
Finally, the letter also points out that those who still wish to wear masks for their own protection are more than welcome to do so, especially considering the “availability of high-quality masks”. In addition to the masking, airplanes also have “hospital-grade cabin air”, which is stressed in this letter.
Biden has not yet issued a response to this request.
Read the full letter below: