‘A horrible idea’: Delta CEO blasts mandatory COVID testing for US flights as government pursues option

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian has joined the chorus of travel-industry executives coming out strongly against a government proposal to require mandatory COVID-19 tests for passengers on flights within the United States.

“I think it’d be a horrible idea for a lot of reasons,” Bastian said Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow. 

Bastian said testing won’t keep domestic passengers safer and will set the travel industry’s recovery back by at least another year. Airlines saw cancellations and bookings spike after mandatory testing for international flights to the U.S. was announced in January.

Bastian saidrequiring domestic travelers to get tested would divert about 10% of the country’s already scarce testing resources, given that U.S. airlines are carrying about 1 million passengers a day on average as travel picks up. There were several days during the holidays whenpassenger counts topped 1 million, setting a pandemic record, but the numbers have since retreated, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Taking testing away from those “truly in need” would be a “terrible decision,” he said. And given delays in processing results, he believes it would be a “logistical nightmare.” 

And then there was one:  Delta, only airline still blocking seats, commits to keeping them empty through April

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