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Airline CEO says masks ‘don’t add much’ on flights

From left, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby testify before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Senate in the Senate Office Building Russell on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 in Washington. Air transport operators testified about the current state of the US airline industry in a surveillance hearing. (Somodevilla chip / Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON (The Hill) – Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the air in a jet’s cabin is so clean that masks “don’t add much.” ” ability to protect against the spread of COVID-19 on board aircraft.

“I recall the statistic that 99.97% of airborne pathogens are captured by HEPA [high-efficiency particulate air] filter system and it flips every two or three minutes,” Kelly told the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee in hearing on aviation supervision.

He said: “I think the case is so serious that masks are not added much, if any, in the cabin. “The environment is very safe, the quality is very high compared to any other indoor setting.”

Southwest Airlines later said in a statement to The Hill that “sophisticated air distribution systems bring fresh, outdoor, and HEPA-filtered air into the cabin, creating a protective environment prior to wear.” add layer mask.”

“Southwest Airlines continues to comply with federal mask regulations for customers and employees both in the airport environment and on all Southwest aircraft,” the airline added.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker added during the hearing that “the plane is the safest place you can be.”

“That’s true for all of our planes,” he said.

American Airlines spokesman Stacy Day later clarified to The Hill that Parker’s statement was not intended to “cast doubt on the need for face masks on board aircraft.”

“As stated in Doug’s testimony, we support federal mask regulation, and masks are an important part of our commitment to keeping our customers and team members safe. healthy and safe,” Day said.

Former General Surgeon Jerome Adamshowever, called the executives’ remarks at the hearing as “irresponsible.”

“These people are currently making record money on these masked missions. I was disgusted when I heard that,” he said during an appearance early Thursday on CNN.

Masked mandates for airlines and other forms of interstate transportation, such as buses and trains, were among the first executive orders signed by President Biden. He extended the duties until March.

Wednesday’s hearing examined how airlines used $54 billion in federal grants given to them at the start of the pandemic.

https://kfor.com/news/u-s-world/airline-executive-says-masks-dont-add-much-on-flights/ Airline CEO says masks ‘don’t add much’ on flights

JACLYN DIAZ

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