April 19 2022  |  Aviation Trends

APEX/IFSA's Joe Leader responds to U.S. lifting inflight mask mandate

By Jane Hobson

Following the decision from U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida on Monday to stop the masking mandate for passengers on aircraft, trains and other public transportation in the country, APEX/IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader says the industry is prepared for this step.

"After two years, airline passengers and crew are more than ready to advance to a phase of personal responsibility for COVID-19 wellness. With this step, the US will also end pre-departure return testing shortly," said Leader.

APEX/IFSA CEO, Dr. Joe Leader

According to an April 18 report from Bloomberg, the judge ruling was handed down in a lawsuit filed last year by the Health Freedom Defense Fund, a nonprofit group that says it focuses on 'bodily autonomy' as a human right.

Today, Delta Air Lines announced that masks are now optional for employees and customers following the announcement.

"Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose. Wearing a well-fitting mask – such as a KN95 – protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks, according to our Chief Health Officer Dr. Henry Ting," reads the Delta press release. "Local mask mandates in other countries may still be in effect. Additional updates will be provided as new information becomes available."

It continues: "We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 transitions to a more manageable respiratory virus – with better treatments, vaccines and other scientific measures to prevent serious illness. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other safe during the pandemic."

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