WASHINGTON – Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the trade association representing commercial service airports in the United States and Canada, today announced that it supports the incoming Biden administration’s new requirement that all travelers wear facial coverings during interstate travel, including when they are in airports.
“American airports welcome this announcement by the Biden administration to require passengers and workers to wear facial coverings whenever they are in an airport,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “We are steadfastly committed to measures that provide for the health and safety of the traveling public and airport employees. That is why we have been consistently calling for federal guidelines for the use of facial coverings in airports since the spring. We are grateful for this leadership from the Biden administration to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and re-instill confidence for those who work in or travel through America’s airports. ACI-NA and our members stand ready to assist the Administration with implementation and enforcement details.”
Due to the extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to provide for the health and safety of passengers and aviation workers, ACI-NA first asked Congress and the previous administration to establish a requirement on facial coverings in May. Burke formalized that request in a July letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. In that letter, Burke asked the outgoing administration “to issue a requirement for the use of facial coverings by all individuals in air transportation.” This new rule will make it easier for airports to require all individuals in the public areas of passenger airport terminals to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
North American airports responded quickly to COVID-19 by establishing enhanced health and sanitation protocols that include much more frequent cleaning, with an intense focus on “touch points” in public areas and restrooms, more and upgraded cleaning supplies, extra shifts and staffing, additional hand sanitizers in airport public areas for passengers and employees, and additional education and training for airport employees and contractors. Many of the practices will remain in place for the foreseeable future.