Southwest Airlines' Head States Masks on Planes Are Useless

Southwest Airlines' Head States Masks on Planes Are Useless

Airlines 2021-12-28
Wearing masks to control the spread of Covid-19 on flights is unnecessary, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary C. Kelly said Dec. 15 at a U.S. Senate hearing.

He explained that the high-tech air filtration systems make airplanes the safest to stay confined. The statement came during a Senate hearing on financial support received by U.S. airlines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After Delta's Executive VP John Laughter and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby testified that the air on planes with HEPA filtration systems is as safe as possible in a closed space, Republican Senator Roger Wicker questioned whether Americans could ever fly planes without a mask.

Reporting that HEPA filtration systems capture 99.97% of airborne pathogens, Kelly said the following:

"I think that's a solid argument that masks add little, if anything, to the safety of cabin air. It's very safe and very high quality compared to any other room."

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker seemed to agree with Kelly's statement, adding:

"I concur. The airplane is the safest place you can be. That's true of all of our planes, as they all have those HEPA filters and the same airflow."

However, Sarah Nelson, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA president, responded that not all airplanes have HEPA filtration systems. Besides, she argued that masks are one of many measures to keep passengers safe. Nelson referred to the aircraft's cleanliness, flight attendant protocols, and air filtration among those measures.

U.S. Covid-19 laws, established by the Biden administration, require airplane passengers two years of age and older to wear masks throughout the flight. In September, the White House announced that the Transportation Security Administration would double the fines for passengers who refuse to wear masks.

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