Updated Mar 23, 2022 - Health

Airline CEOs ask Biden to drop mask mandate

A Delta Airlines jet taxis at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The board of directors for advocacy group Airlines for America sent a letter to President Biden on Wednesday calling for the end of the transportation mask mandate and pre-departure COVID-19 testing requirements for international flights.

Driving the news: The letter was signed by the heads of 10 major commercial and cargo airlines, including Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and UPS Airlines.

  • Other signatories include the CEOs of Alaska Air Group, Fedex Express, Atlas Air Worldwide, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines Holdings. It was also signed by Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio.

The big picture: The letter comes as COVID-19 cases around the U.S. have declined in recent weeks, though rising cases in Europe due to the BA.2 variant could soon upend that trend.

What they're saying: "We are encouraged by the current data and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions from coast to coast, which indicate it is past time to eliminate COVID-era transportation policies," the letter read.

  • "Much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context."
  • "Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions — including the international pre-departure testing requirement and the federal mask mandate."
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