3 US airlines to require passengers to wear face masks

Washington: Three US airlines have said that they will soon require passengers to wear face masks on flights amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delta Air Lines Inc, American Airlines Group Inc, and Frontier Airlines, released their statements separately on Thursday, two days after Jet Blue announced its change in policies, the first major US airline to impose the rule.

Delta’s requirements begin from May 4, while American’s and Frontier’s start from May 11 and May 8, respectively.

“This new requirement is part of the airline’s ongoing commitment to prioritizing customer and team member well-being in response to the coronavirus pandemic,” American Airlines said in a statement.

Several airlines are building on safety measures by blocking some seats to create social distancing and introducing new cleaning rules.

Air travel in the US was down 95 per cent from a year ago, and the average domestic flight has 17 passengers, industry figures show.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been facing calls from airline unions for requiring facial coverings for all passengers.

“We’re happy to see airlines taking action to require masks or facial coverings for passengers, crew and other frontline employee,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.

The US currently accounts for the highest number of coronavirus cases, as well as deaths in the world.

As of Friday morning, the cases increased to 1,069,424, with 63,006 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.