Airline executive says masks 'don't add much' on flights


American Airlines CEO Doug Parker added during the hearing that an "aircraft is the safest place you can be."

"That’s true of all of our aircraft,” he said.

American Airlines spokeswoman Stacy Day later clarified to The Hill that Parker's statements were not intended to "cast doubt on the necessity of face masks on planes."

"As noted in Doug’s testimony, we support the federal mask mandate, and masks are an important part of our commitment to keeping our customers and team members healthy and safe," she said.

Former Surgeon General Jerome AdamsAirline executive says masks 'don't add much' on flightsJerome AdamsTrump administration surgeon general predicts 'winter surge' in COVID-19 Overnight Health Care — Biden urges parents to vaccinate children Trump surgeon general says he plans to vaccinate 11-year-old as soon as possible MORE, however, called the executives' remarks "irresponsible." 

"These folks are making record money right now because of these mask mandates. I was disgusted when I heard that," he said during an appearance early Thursday on CNN's "New Day."

JUST NOW: "It was irresponsible... These folks are making record money right now because of these mask mandates. I was disgusted when I heard that."

Fmr Surgeon General @JeromeAdamsMD reacts to airline CEOs saying masks may not be necessary on flights.pic.twitter.com/AFI89tfzD0

— John Berman (@JohnBerman) December 16, 2021

Mask mandates on airlines and other forms of interstate transportation, such as buses and trains, were among the first executive orders signed by President BidenAirline executive says masks 'don't add much' on flightsJoe BidenSinema doubles down on filibuster, in setback for rules change talks Overnight Energy & Environment — Senate panel backs drilling fee hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate passes sweeping defense bill MORE. He has since renewed the mandates until March 2022. 

The hearing on Wednesday examined how the airlines have used the $54 billion in federal grants given to them at the beginning of the pandemic. 

Updated at 8:48 a.m.