With the airline industry suffering, Gov. DeSantis reassures the public that it’s safe to fly

By: - August 28, 2020 4:04 pm

JetBlue took part in a roundtable with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, about aviation issues during COVID-19. Credit: YouTube.

Air travel is safe despite the COVID-19 pandemic because of safety measures such as requiring face coverings, regular temperature checks for employees and disinfecting the aircrafts, said Gov. Ron DeSantis and other aviation officials Friday.

Lester Sola, director and CEO of the Miami International Airport, said, “the airports and the airlines have taken enough measures to ensure that the journey is a safe journey.”

Sola was among other aviation officials participating in a roundtable discussion at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, hosted by DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez.

They reassured the public that it is safe to fly, claiming airlines have not seen an overwhelming number of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Gov. Ron DeSantis hosted a roundtable discussion on aviation in Ft. Lauderdale. Credit: Screenshot from The Florida Channel.

“The airplanes have not been vectors where you see a lot of spread of the coronavirus. The fact of the matter is…you just have not seen airlines lead to outbreaks. Folks should understand that and they should be comfortable to fly,” DeSantis said.

“The evidence is the evidence. I think it’s something that is safe for people to do. Because people have been doing it, not at levels that we’re used to, but people have been doing it throughout this whole time and I think a track record has been developed.”

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines representatives discussed some specific protocols in place to ensure passengers and crew members feel safe.

Andres Barry, president of JetBlue Travel Products, said the airline has been receiving positive feedback from travelers regarding their flight experiences. “Flying is an essential service,” he said.

“There’s a lot that we’ve done on the plane – we [JetBlue] are the first ones to require masks, we have blocked off middle seats this entire time… we’re comfortable that we are doing a lot of things to make people feel as safe as they can when they travel,” he said.

The airline industry in Florida suffered dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a loss of revenue, DeSantis pointed out. And a Spirit Airlines official said many crew members have been taking voluntarily leave and pay cuts to avoid furloughs.

“Since March, the demand has gone down in the aviation industry,” DeSantis said. “There were a lot of restrictions in place in many parts of the country and other countries.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.