Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio (D) and more than a dozen other U.S. Congressional members have introduced the Healthy Flights Act of 2020, a proposed new law that includes the requirement that all passengers wear masks onboard aircraft and within airports.
The Healthy Flights Act also mandates the development of a national aviation preparedness plan to respond to epidemics or pandemics, calls for a study on transmission of infectious diseases in airplane cabins, and creates an FAA Center of Excellence on Infectious Disease Response and Prevention in Aviation to advise the FAA Administrator on infectious diseases and air travel.
“The Healthy Flights Act provides clear, consistent rules and guidelines that give flight and cabin crews the authority they need to keep passengers safe, mitigate the spread of this insidious disease, and help our country prepare for future pandemics,” said DeFazio, chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, in a release announcing the proposed law.
The bill’s introduction was praised by stakeholders from across aviation, including American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) President and CEO Todd Hauptli who said airports and carriers have already taken numerous steps to protect the health and safety of their passengers and employees during the pandemic.
“This legislative proposal builds on those efforts and provides meaningful federal guidelines that will help ensure clarity and consistency for travelers across the aviation system,” he added.
Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) President and CEO Kevin Burke also touted the proposed law, saying, “This bill is designed to ensure the health and safety of passengers and will help restore confidence in the traveling public.”