The CEO of Delta Airlines said that the proposed requirement of making domestic passengers prove they’re COVID-19 negative with a test is a “horrible idea.”
Ed Bastain, Delta’s CEO, talked to Poppy Harlow of CNN on Tuesday. In it, he mentioned that the proposal being considered by the Biden administration is a bad idea. If it pushes through, it will drain resources for COVID-19 testing from sectors that need it more. The CEO also mentioned that the number of air travel COVID-19 transmissions has been “absolutely minimal.”
Bastain said the proposal will not make domestic flyers any safer. Bastain explained that planes have hospital-quality filters installed and that it lets fresh air flow into the cabin in intervals of a few minutes. This helps in lowering the chance of transmission while on board.
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Delta’s CEO said the proposal would cause a “logistical nightmare” if enacted. There are “very, very few documented cases globally” of transmissions happening during air travel. He also mentioned that the proposed requirement for air travel would require “about 10%” of testing resources.
COVID-19 Test Currently Not Required For Domestic Travel
COVID-19 tests are needed by some travelers going in or out of the country in an effort to limit the transmission of new variants. People who board flights to Hawaii are also required to get the test, but the case is not the same for most domestic flights.
Bastain even said that doing so would “set us back another year” in terms of recovery.
Regarding this, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg clarified that the Biden administration has not arrived at a decision yet regarding the proposal. However, he did note that it’s an option that the CDC may consider.
On Monday, Delta Airlines announced that it would continue making middle plane seats unavailable for booking until April. This makes Delta the only U.S. airline that limits its capacity.
Regarding this, Bastain recognized how expensive it is. He explained, though, that their higher fares manage to offset the cost partially.