Travelers wearing masks at the airport. (photo via sam thomas/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
The chief executive officers from the top airlines in the United States have sent a letter to President Joe Biden and his administration asking them to lift COVID-era transportation mandates.
Top officials from American, Delta, Southwest, United and other airlines urged President Biden to eliminate the federal mask requirement on airplanes and in airports—which was recently extended to April 18—and remove the international pre-departure testing requirement for U.S. inbound customers.
The letter called for the Biden administration to alter the current policies to align with the comprehensive coronavirus data available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updates on mask-wearing.
“Considering the improved public health metrics in the U.S. and medical advancements to prevent the worst outcomes of COVID-19, the federal mask mandate and pre-departure testing no longer fits with the current environment,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said.
“We appreciate the leadership of the federal government throughout the pandemic,” Bastian continued. “Current data and science show it’s time to move from mandates to guidance and personal health choices.”
Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it extended the mandatory mask rules on public transportation until at least April 18. The White House, TSA and CDC said they are working on a revised policy framework for when the mandates can be safely lifted.
In what is believed to be the first legal challenge to the Federal Transportation Mask Mandate filed by aviation workers themselves, a group of commercial airline pilots filed suit in U.S. District Court in Washington against the CDC, asking a judge to strike down the mandate.