Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary believes that travelers without COVID-19 vaccines should be banned from flying.
“If you’re not vaccinated, you shouldn’t be allowed in the hospital, you shouldn’t be allowed to fly, you shouldn’t be allowed on the London Underground, and you shouldn’t be allowed in the local supermarket or your pharmacy either,” said the European airline executive, The Telegraph reports. “You can sit at home and you know, get your deliveries of medicines and food. But you should not, you know, go to work or go on public transport unless you have a vaccine certificate.”
The comments follow a man loudly denouncing stringent COVID-19 restrictions on a Ryanair jet.
“I have a right, every single person on this plane has a right not to take a test. Who do they think they are? I have a constitutional right in the amendment,” said the man, according to The Daily Mail. “I don’t have to take something, you are being forced. You are being forced into everything, ‘take a vaccine, you do this, take a vaccine you do that.’”
Meanwhile, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker and Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told members of the Senate on Wednesday that masks do not offer significant protection to passengers in comparison to planes’ high-grade HEPA filters. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) was reportedly “shocked” by the executives’ comments — agreeing with O’Leary that it is “immoral” to “allow unvaccinated people on planes.”
“I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment,” Kelly said. “It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”
Parker agreed: “An aircraft is the safest place you can be… It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and air flow.”
Airlines have left thousands of travelers stranded in recent months as they cancelled flights with minimal notice. Though the companies typically point to labor shortages and bad weather, COVID-19 vaccine mandates likely play a role in the phenomenon.
For instance, the U.S. Freedom Flyers — an organization of airline and transportation workers working to oppose the vaccine mandates imposed by airlines and the federal government — disagreed with American Airlines’ claim that a spate of cancellations in November was attributable to high winds.
“The system is stressed as it is and now we have unions coming out and gaslighting their members that if they are unvaccinated, they need counseling and education,” Freedom Flyers founding member Jason Kusinich told The Daily Wire, citing an email from the president of the American Airlines Pilots’ Union, which said unvaccinated crew members need “education and counseling.”
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