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Delta CEO calls negative COVID test requirement for domestic flights 'horrible idea'

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg considering negative COVID-19 test requirement for all domestic flights.

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John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport
(Robert Alexander/Getty Images)
Updated: February 10, 2021 - 12:07pm

The CEO of Delta Air Lines says the federal government's potential plan to require domestic passengers to have a negative COVID-19 test before travel is a 'horrible idea."

CEO Ed Bastian made the comment Tuesday to CNN, arguing that such testing could take "10% of testing resources" away from sick people.

He said domestic travel in the air transportation system is "the safest form of transportation and that the testing would be a "logistical nightmare."

"Incidents of spread aboard any of our planes is absolutely minimal," Ed Bastian said.

His comments follow Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saying earlier this week the his agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in an "active conversation" on whether the U.S. will implement the proposed measures. 

"What I can tell you is that it's going to be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people who are actually going to have to carry this out," Buttigieg said Sunday in an interview with "Axios on HBO". "The safer we can make air travel, in terms of perception as well as reality, the more people are going to be ready to get back into the air." 

With reports of air travel down as much as 60% since before the start of the pandemic, the possible measure brings worries that industry recovery could be set back at least another year.

International travelers to the U.S. are required to have a negative test result. 

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