Airline CEOs Push Back Against Biden’s Mask Mandates

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

It appears the Biden administration is feeling a great deal of turbulence from several airline CEO’s concerning the White House’s face mask mandate, which requires all passengers (including children) to wear face masks while traveling onboard.

According to CNN, during a recent congressional hearing regarding federal funding for airlines during the pandemic, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly had an opportunity to explain to lawmakers what they honestly thought about the Biden mask mandates.

I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting,” Kelly said, according to the outlet. He went on to add, “Face masks don’t add much additional protection against the spread of COVID-19 on airplanes.”

I concur. An aircraft is the safest place you can be indoors… safer than an ICU,” Parker agreed. “It’s true of all of our aircraft, they all have the same HEPA filters and air flow.”

According to Biden’s own Environmental Protection Agency regarding the effectiveness of HEPA filters, “This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). The diameter specification of 0.3 microns responds to the worst case; the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Particles that are larger or smaller are trapped with even higher efficiency. Using the worst case particle size results in the worst case efficiency rating (i.e. 99.97% or better for all particle sizes).”

In other words, the air HEPA filters used on virtually all aircrafts is perhaps the safest environment anyone can be exposed too, provided the air is being circulated and they are using high-quality filters that are also replaced often.

The professional and sobering analysis by two airline industry insiders apparently didn’t sit well with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, who became quite disturbed that someone would dare question Biden’s draconian and unscientific mask mandates.

I’m shocked that some of the CEOs here today have suggested we no longer need masks mandates on planes,” he said. “In the face of Omicron, children under five who still cannot be vaccinated….and that we still allow unvaccinated people on planes.” He said it was “immoral” to take the position that people on planes could be forced to sit next to unvaccinated people who are not wearing masks.

Both Kelly and Parker have announced plans to retire in the coming months, however, before leaving their posts as CEO’s, decided to push back against mask mandates compared to high-grade HEPA air filters.

After the hearing, American Airlines tried to walk back Parker’s remarks, apparently fearing some type of retribution from the White House where honest opinions aren’t welcomed. The airline in a formal statement claimed that his remarks were on the “quality of the air in the aircraft cabin, not mask requirements.”

Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, also attempted to put a smiley face on the issue of mask mandates by testifying that not all aircrafts are equipped with the same quality of air filters. For example, older planes aren’t equipped to handle HEPA filters.

I believe that the government has taken a very responsible approach to this,” Nelson said. “We believe it should continue to stay in place. It’s a workplace safety issue. We do need a consistent message though. It troubles me too to hear different messages. I would hope we are going to stay on the same messages and follow the medical experts and do what’s necessary to keep everybody safe.” Spoken like a true bureaucrat.

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