ORLANDO, Fla. - U.S. airlines are calling on President Joe Biden to remove the federal mask mandate for airplanes, trains, and other modes of transportation. They want the policy removed by April 18 if not sooner.
In their words, they say "it is past time."
The Airlines for America lobbying group sent a letter to President Biden calling for an end to federal mask requirements on airplanes. The group says based on the level of COVID-19 vaccinations and low hospitalizations in the U.S., as well as the fact that many mask mandates across the country have already ended, it is now time for airlines to eliminate the policy.
The airline CEO's cite increased friction on airplanes for having to enforce the mask mandate. The Federal Aviation Administration says since January 2021, there have been nearly 7,000 unruly passenger incidents reported with 70-percent of them involving mask rules.
The airlines included in the letter to the president are American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, JetBlue and other carriers.
Two weeks ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a one month extension to the mask mandate for passengers on planes, buses and trains that will now expire on April 18. They also question why people should still be required to wear masks on planes but are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools and sporting events without masks.
The White House has not yet commented on the letter, but previously said the CDC was working to develop a revised plan concerning masks and public transportation.