American Airlines CEO Says Biden Admin Shouldn’t Require Vaccines For Travel

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From News Wars:

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker pushed back against the Biden administration’s proposal for mandatory vaccines for air travel, saying passengers shouldn’t be forced to get the COVID injection to fly.

Parker made the remarks in a Washington Post special interview called “The Path Forward” on Tuesday over Zoom.

“First and foremost, what I point out is how safe air travel is, which I think we’ve done a nice job through this pandemic of proving. It’s one of the few places left in the United States where you’re required to wear a mask due to a federal mandate,” Parker said.

“The airplane itself, as we’ve proven, is an incredibly safe place to be, particularly for everyone who wears masks, because of the way the air flows through the aircraft, because of how often it’s refreshed, that it’s an incredibly safe place to be.”

“Because of all that, we don’t see the need to require people to be vaccinated travel within the United States, again, simply because it’s a much safer place to be than people are allowed to move about the United States otherwise,” he said.

Parker clarified that American Airlines doesn’t necessarily oppose Biden’s vaccine mandate for travel, but said he personally doesn’t think it would be “particularly helpful.”

“It’s not something that we oppose,” he said. “If indeed this was something the administration chose to put in place, I think we’d encourage them to think about why that makes sense.”

“But again, we’ll do whatever people may think makes sense to get this pandemic behind us, but I don’t think that will be particularly helpful.”

“I think much more so having large employers require their teams to be vaccinated will have a much bigger impact than trying to go business by business and say ‘there are certain things you can or can’t do unless you’re vaccinated,’” Parker added.

Parker noted that Biden’s current vaccine mandate will mean virtually all of his employees will have to get the injection, but he said he’s fine with that.

“We’re all going to have to get vaccinated one way or another,” Parker said, adding “obviously we support the administration on this and we will comply.”

The Biden administration has been internally debating whether to impose a vaccine mandate for air travel in recent days.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week the administration hasn’t taken “options off the table” regarding an air travel ban for the unvaccinated.

Joe Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain also said a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel was under consideration.

“It’s something we continue to look at. We want to kind of weigh the number of people that these requirements could vaccinate versus the burden on the vaccinated, having to show proof every time you go on to an airplane, having to wait on longer lines at TSA [Transportation Security Administration]. But I think it’s something we’ll look at as we continue to progress,” Klain said on “Pod Save America.”

“But I think it’s something we’ll look at as we continue to progress,” he added.

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