Last Updated on December 16, 2021
Although Americans are still required by federal law to wear a face mask while on a plane, some airline CEOs are skeptical of its effectiveness.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly explained their thoughts on the mandate while speaking during a congressional hearing about federal funding for airlines during the pandemic, CNN reported.
“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.
“I concur. An aircraft is the safest place you can be,” Parker agreed.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly: Face masks “don’t add much” additional protection against the spread of COVID-19 on airplanes.
American Airlines CEO Doug Parker: “The airplane is the safest place you can be indoors… safer than an ICU.” pic.twitter.com/SeuCvTCLVQ
— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) December 16, 2021
“It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and air flow,” Parker stated.
Here’s what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say about 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, they presumably make tightly packed cabins extremely safe, as long as the air is being circulated and they are using high-quality filters.
Of course, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey was disturbed that someone in a position of power would dare question mandates.
“I’m shocked that some of the CEOs here today have suggested we no longer need masks mandates on planes,” Markey said, according to CNN.
“In the face of Omicron, children under five who still cannot be vaccinated … and that we still allow unvaccinated people on planes.”
The federal mask mandate is set to expire on March 18, 2022, but has been extended numerous times. The possibility that it will actually end on the currently scheduled date is a pipe dream.
Although the establishment media have the impression that Americans should only be listening to “experts” and politicians on coronavirus-related issues, it speaks volumes that the head of airline companies are raising concerns about precautions in an industry that is well-versed in taking precautions.
It’s tough to predict what a scaled-down mask mandate would look like; however, one can assume that it would likely allow vaccinated passengers to fly maskless, whereas the unvaccinated would still be required to do so.
More CEOs, particularly in heavily COVID-restricted industries, need to keep speaking out and pushing to go back to normal.
The country will never move on from the pandemic unless people raise their voices, and business leaders are a crucial part of that effort.