US airlines: Domestic COVID-19 testing mandate not workable

US airlines: Domestic COVID-19 testing mandate not workable
  • Air travel can be safe as long as everyone carefully follows best health practices
  • High cost and low availability make it hard to put domestic testing mandate into practice
  • Mask mandate adds another enforceable layer of health and safety protection to the travel process

U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow issued the following statement on the meeting between U.S. airlines’ chief executives and White House coronavirus response officials:

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“The high cost and low availability of testing make a domestic testing mandate a challenging concept to put into practice. Based on January 2021 data, a testing requirement for domestic air travel would necessitate a 42% increase in daily testing capacity nationwide—a substantial use of testing resources when air travel has already been shown to be safer than many other routine activities.

“The recent implementation of a mask mandate adds another enforceable layer of health and safety protection to the travel process. Scientific studies have shown that air travel can be safe as long as everyone carefully follows best health practices—wear a mask, practice physical distancing whenever possible, wash hands frequently and stay home if you are sick. We are also encouraging Americans to get the COVID vaccine as soon as it is available to them. These are the messages the travel industry has emphasized as part of our firm commitment to a layered approach to healthy and safe travel, and we will continue to do so.

“There is virtual unanimity across all sectors of the travel industry that a domestic testing mandate is not workable or warranted. U.S. Travel echoes the airlines’ perspective and commends the administration for considering the broader travel industry’s concerns about the science, data and negative consequences of a domestic testing mandate.”

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