U.S. extends airplane mask mandate through April 18

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President Joe Biden’s administration will extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and in transit hubs through April 18 as public health authorities review when mask requirements should be dropped, the White House confirmed.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in statements Thursday that CDC will work with other government agencies “to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.”

Breeze Airways plans aggressive expansion this summer.

The TSA extension comes at the CDC’s recommendation. Airline and some government officials think this could be the last nationwide extension of the mask requirements, Reuters reported.

Airlines and travel groups last month called on the administration by March 18 to “repeal the Federal mask mandate for public transportation or provide a clear roadmap to remove the mask mandate within 90 days.”

The mask requirements have resulted in significant friction on U.S. airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration says since January 2021, there have been a record 6,800 unruly passenger incidents reported — and 70% involved masking rules.

The administration is also considering lifting requirements that international visitors get a negative COVID-19 test within a day of travel, officials said, as many countries have dropped testing requirements. The administration requires foreign air travelers to be vaccinated.