Industry lobby group Airlines for America (A4A) – which counts carriers such as AA, Delta, Jetblue, Southwest and United as members – wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to abandon Covid-era travel restrictions.
A4A called on Biden to scrap pre-departure testing requirements and the mandatory wearing of face masks in-flight, saying the measures “no longer align with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”
The body said pre-departure testing had “lost its usefulness and thwarts the return of international travel”, citing the removal of such measures by the UK, EU and Canada.
A4A stated that “the United States’ inconsistency with these practices creates a competitive disadvantage for United States travel and tourism by imposing an additional cost and burden on travel to the United States”, adding that “of many outbound travelers are unwilling to risk being stranded abroad.”
The letter also pointed to a recent study by Oxera and Edge Health, which examined the effectiveness of travel restrictions in Europe and concluded that such measures have failed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
On mask wearing, A4A said, “Science clearly supports lifting the mask mandate, as demonstrated by the recently released CDC framework indicating that 99% of the U.S. population no longer needs to wear a mask at home. ‘interior’.
Again, the letter pointed to studies – from Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health and the US Department of Defense – which concluded “that an aircraft cabin is one of the safest indoor environments in due to the combination of highly filtered air and constant airflow coupled with the downward direction of the air”.
While urging the administration to drop mandatory mask-wearing inflight, A4A said “the effectiveness and availability of high-quality masks for those who wish to wear them gives passengers the ability to protect themselves further if they choose to do so”.
Earlier this month, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) renewed its mandatory mask-wearing directive through April 18, with the White House saying it was “working government-wide on a revised policy framework for when to mask up based on its Covid-19 community levels”.
The TSA renews its transport mask requirement as the CDC works government-wide on a revised policy framework for when to mask based on its COVID-19 community levels. https://t.co/ASc46Oi10h
— Kevin Munoz (@KMunoz46) March 10, 2022