Airlines for America, the lobby trade group representing the bulk of U.S. carriers, is meeting with the Transportation Security Administration to discuss the possibility of taking passengers’ temperatures before boarding.
The move, which would happen right at the screening checkpoints, could help stem the tide of the coronavirus as the country gets back to flying.
“I think it’s fair to say that the Airlines for America trade association is leading the effort to advocate for some kind of health screening at the security checkpoint,” Southwest Airlines Co. Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said on an earnings call Tuesday according to Bloomberg News. “The screening is there, so it seems very natural to be done at that point.”
Talks are preliminary, but the idea is not far-fetched.
“This continues to be a rapidly evolving situation and U.S. carriers remain in close contact with multiple federal agencies, the administration, Congress, and public health experts as we prepare for a relaunch of our industry,” A4A said in a statement.
Bloomberg noted that checking for a fever, one of the symptoms of COVID-19, not only would provide an extra layer of safety but hopefully also convince passengers of airports and airlines’ conviction in fighting the virus – and get people flying again.
Airlines have been devastated by the coronavirus, with demand for travel off 90 percent compared to last year.
Virtually all U.S. airlines have begun taking strong action to fight the virus, including increased cleaning and sanitizing procedures and requiring all crew and passengers wear face masks during flights.
TSA said in a statement it has been discussing health-related issues with its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“At this time, no decision has been made regarding specific health screening measures at airports,” TSA said in the statement.
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