Airlines-Testing Passengers

A traveler walks through Terminal B of LaGuardia Airport in New York earlier this month.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leaders of several major US airlines met online Friday with White House officials to press their case against requiring Coronavirus tests for passengers on domestic flights, saying it would undermine the already fragile industry.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed speculation that the Biden administration could soon impose a requirement that passengers on domestic flights first pass a COVID-19 test. But she stopped short of taking the idea off the table.

“Reports that there is an intention to put in place new requirements such as testing are not accurate,” Psaki said. She described the meeting with CEOs as “brief.”

A person familiar with the discussions said the airline CEOs talked with White House Coronavirus-response coordinator Jeff Zients, according to the person, who spoke anonymously to discuss a private meeting.

The CEOs of American, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue all took part in the meeting, according to industry officials. 

The meeting was arranged after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that a testing requirement before domestic flights was under consideration.

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