Airline association urges end to COVID-19 mandates for passengers

united airlines
'Public health environment has changed dramatically since those requirements were put into place.'

The largest lobbying association for America’s airlines is urging the federal government to lift mask mandates for all air travelers and COVID-19 testing for international travels — among the last vestiges of coronavirus crisis mandates.

“I am writing to urge you to end the pre-departure testing requirement for international air travel and to end the mask mandate for travel on airplanes. Neither restriction is currently supported by data and science in today’s public health environment,” wrote Nicholas Calio, president of Airlines for America, to top federal officials earlier this week.

The federal mandate for masks on commercial airplanes and other public transportation was set to expire next Monday. But earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended the mandate for two more weeks, to May 3. Mandates for testing for international travelers also remain in place.

Relying on arguments forwarded for more than a year by mandate opponents, and also on recent COVID-19 data showing a low level of infections, Calio made his pleas to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

One of the nation’s most outspoken mask mandate opponents, Gov. Ron DeSantis, has called them “theater.”

“The public health environment has changed dramatically since those requirements were put into place, in large part due to the administration’s success in getting our population vaccinated,” Calio wrote.

“Hospitalizations and deaths have been falling since mid-January despite a recent uptick in cases in certain cities. These realities, along with the immunity provided by boosters and prior infections, coupled with effective treatments and the high level of safety onboard a plane due to effective ventilation and HEPA air filters provide rationale for lifting pre-departure testing and mask requirements for air travel.”

The association, founded in 1936, represents most but not all of America’s major airlines. Among members are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • Impeach Biden

    April 15, 2022 at 11:33 am

    Get rid of this ridiculous mandate. Every day thousands cross the border illegally and none of them have to present a negative Covid test unlike us legal citizens that have to when returning to the United States. Biden is a complete idiot and his administration is totally incompetent. If you want to wear a mask go right ahead..

  • Just a thought

    April 15, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    It depends where they want to go outside the country mandates to go eat in their countries

Comments are closed.


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