Major Airline CEOs Call on President Biden To Remove Mask Mandate on Travel

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

A group of CEOs from 10 major U.S. airlines is calling on the White House to lift the ongoing federal mask mandate on public transportation. In a letter, it wrote that masking requirements are no longer necessary and place employees in challenging situations.

At a Glance

  • CEOs from major airlines are asking the Biden administration to remove public transportation mask mandates.
  • In a letter, the heads wrote that masking is no longer necessary and also causes dangerous in-flight incidents.
  • A group of pilots also recently sued the CDC over the mask requirements.

U.S. Airline CEOs Say Mask Mandates ‘Make No Sense’

The CEOs expressed their frustrations with the mandate, which the FAA recently extended to at least April 18th, saying that it “no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”

In recent months, most states and businesses have removed masking requirements, and other countries have followed suit. Currently, the transportation mandate is one of the only ones that remains in place.

“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,” the letter reads.

Furthermore, the group is concerned about their employees who have to enforce the mandate. Because not only is the staff “not trained” to do so, but they’re also being placed in dangerous situations.

The FAA reported 4,290 in-flight incidents last year that stemmed from face-covering rules. And most situations included confrontations with people refusing to comply with the mandate. This year, the agency has already seen 961 reports of unruly passengers, and 635 were related to masks.

The heads of Alaska Air, Atlas Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, and JetBlue Airways signed the letter. And CEOs from FedEx Express, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS Airlines, and Airlines for America also added their signatures.

A Group of Pilots Sues CDC Over Mandate Extension

The news comes only days after a group of 10 pilots for some of the same airlines sued the CDC over the same mandate. In the suit, the claimants allege that masking requirements ignore scientific studies showing masks are “ineffective” and lead to “unruly” passengers.

It also states that face-covering rules can cause health risks.

“Wearing a mask before and during flight causes us numerous medical deficiencies,” the filing reads. “Extended wearing of a mask, which has become a part of routine life, has led to the emergence of ‘mask fatigue.’ Mask fatigue is defined as the lack of energy that accompanies, and/or follows prolonged wearing of a mask.”