Two Airline CEO’s Doubt Necessity for Masks on Flights

Passengers wear face masks at Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport, outskirts Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Millions of people are holing up at home, stocking up on supplies and keeping a wary eye on how close they get to friends and neighbors as the coronavirus spreads to more places. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

WASHINGTON DC (VINnews) — Two major airline CEO’s have created an uproar, after testifying in Congress that mask-wearing on airplanes accomplishes virtually nothing.

At a Senate hearing Wednesday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said that he believes that masks do virtually nothing to prevent the spread of Covid on aircraft. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker seemed to agree.

They also said that masks are not really necessary, due to the high level of air quality and filtration on airplanes.

The hearing was entitled “Oversight of the U.S. Airline Industry”, and during questioning by Republican Senator Roger Wicker, Kelly said, “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.”

Both Kelly and Parker noted that high-grade HEPA filters capture virtually all germs. In addition, the air in the cabin is frequently exchanged with fresh air from outside.

After the hearing, American Airlines tried to walk back Parker’s controversial comments, releasing a statement claiming that he only agreed with Kelly about the high quality of the air, not the necessity of masks.

Following the comments, Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, blasted the CEO’s.

“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 believe that people on planes should not be forced to wear masks.

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