Major Airline CEOs Say Aircraft ‘Safest Place You Can Be,’ Masks ‘Don’t Add Much’ to Cabin Environment


The chief executives of some major U.S. airlines questioned on Dec. 15 how much wearing masks onboard flights helps to limit exposure to COVID-19, noting that an aircraft is “the safest place you can be.”

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby made the comments during a Senate Commerce committee hearing on aviation issues, titled “Oversight of the U.S. Airline Industry.”

The hearing focused on the Payroll Support Program that Congress designed to protect the airline workforce and support the continuity of safe and essential travel amid the pandemic.

But the topic of masks arose via a question from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the ranking Republican on the Senate panel holding the hearing, who asked John Laughter, executive vice president and chief of operations at Delta Air Lines about air quality on flights and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

Referring to Laughter’s testimony, Wicker said, “You wrote … ‘We continue to electrostatically spray our aircraft interior with high-grade disinfectant and use HEPA air filters to remove 99.99 percent of airborne particles on board.’ Is this new, or were those HEPA filters there all along?”

Laughter said the HEPA filters are part of an aircraft circulation system and that he would “assume that all modern airliners have those same systems,” while adding that his company had partnered with the Mayo Clinic to assess the quality of air in cabins.

Source: The Epochtimes