(The Hill) — CEOs of major U.S. airlines have written an open letter to President Joe Biden to drop the federal transportation mask mandates along with the international pre-departure testing requirement.
The letter, released by travel industry group Airlines for America (A4A) on Wednesday, said “Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions.”
It added the restrictions are “no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.”
The letter was signed by the CEOs of Alaska Air Group, American Airlines, Atlas Air Worldwide, Aviation FedEx Express, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, UPS Airlines and A4A.
The airlines said that during the global health crisis, they have “supported and cooperated” with the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“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,” it added.
“The persistent and steady decline of hospitalization and death rates are the most compelling indicators that our country is well protected against severe disease from COVID-19. Given that we have entered a different phase of dealing with this virus, we strongly support your view that ‘COVID-19 need no longer control our lives.'”
It highlighted that it is “critical to recognize” that the burden of enforcing both the mask and pre-departure testing requirements has fallen on airline employees for two years now.
“This is not a function they are trained to perform and subjects them to daily challenges by frustrated customers. This, in turn, takes a toll on their own well-being.”
The federal mask mandate was recently extended to April 18. The letter comes as the International Air Transport Association and the U.S. Travel Association have also been lobbying the White House to lift the mandate.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.