Airlines want masks to end

Airline CEOs Urge Biden to Drop Mask, Foreign-Traveler Mandates

A traveler wearing a protective face mask waits to board a flight at Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) in Springfield, Missouri, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. Citing a surge in unruly passengers, U.S. aviation regulators are calling on the nation's airports to encourage the police to arrest offenders, and to prevent people from sneaking alcohol on board.

(Bloomberg) -- The largest U.S. airlines urged President Joe Biden to immediately end federal requirements for masks on airplanes, along with mandated vaccinations and testing for international passengers coming to the country. 

By Mary Schlangenstein

Word Count: 273
“It is past time” to eliminate the policies, the Airlines for America lobbying group said in a letter Wednesday, citing the level of Covid-19 vaccinations in the U.S. and the end to mask mandates across much of the country. The testing and shot rule “creates a competitive disadvantage for U.S. tourism,” the carriers said.Masking has has been particularly contentious because it has been linked to a surge in the number of disruptive passengers on flights. At the same time, it has eased fears of infection and helped the carriers bounce back after losing more than 95% of their passengers in the early days of the pandemic. The administration recently extended the mandate for masks on planes, trains and other transit by 30 days, to April 18.

“We are requesting this action not only for the benefit of the traveling public, but also for the thousands of airline employees charged with enforcing a patchwork of now-outdated regulations implemented in response to Covid-19,” the group said.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the largest union of such workers, didn’t lobby for the recent mask extension, but said it expected the requirement to remain in place. The union couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the letter.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents about 22,000 American Airlines Group Inc. employees, previously said it didn’t oppose an extension of the mask rule, but was “looking forward to the day that it is no longer needed.”

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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