Scott Kirby says mandate for travelers could put a ‘burden’ on people who are vaccinated
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on Sunday that his company is “ready” to require COVID-19 vaccination among passengers if President Biden says so.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Kirby said that he believed a vaccine mandate for travelers would place an undue “burden” on vaccinated people, but he would still support a mandate if The Biden administration determined it was necessary.
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“I think the administration is trying to find all the levers to get vaccinated across the country, which is doing a really commendable job,” he said. “I think the administration’s approach has been to get people vaccinated at work, it’s a shot, and you can get a really high percentage of the country, as opposed to burdening people who are vaccinated — Every time you get on a plane, train, public transport of any kind – to prove you’ve been vaccinated.”
Biden unveiled a new plan this month that directs the Labor Department to require all businesses with 100 or more employees to have a COVID-19 vaccine or weekly tests, and he signed an executive order that All federal government employees are required to be vaccinated.
Kirby praised the move and said it would help reinvigorate air travel, adding that he did not expect a rebound until January.
“For now, I think their approach of focusing on employment and focusing on work is probably the right way to go,” he said. “But they get great data and science, and if they tell us they want us all checked out we’re ready to do that.”
In August, United Airlines became the first major airline to mandate a vaccine among its 67,000 US employees. kirby told CNN Last week about 90% of the company’s employees showed proof of their vaccinations to the airline and a small number of employees resigned over the mandate. He also said he does not think a vaccine mandate for travelers would greatly increase vaccination rates and that such a decision would have to be federally mandated.